Brazil has approved Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
In new documentation issued by the country’s Administrative Council for Economic Defence (CADE) on Wednesday, the regulator stated it has approved of this deal “without restrictions”.
Along with this approval, CADE did touch on the more high-profile elements of this proposed acquisition, including Activision’s Call of Duty franchise – a franchise which has recently felt like it’s been caught up in a custody battle between Xbox and PlayStation.
On this, the regulator stated that, given the series’ “huge popularity”, it was fair to assume that if “Activision Blizzard games were no longer available on Sony consoles” its fans may ultimately choose to “migrate to Xbox, or even a PC” to keep having access to these games.
However, it went on to note that if games such as Call of Duty became Microsoft exclusives in the future, those loyal to other brands such as PlayStation could simply “abandon the series” and redirect their enthusiasm to “other games available on their favourite console” (via ResetEra).
CADE concluded: “Despite Microsoft having control of a relevant portion of the console and digital game distribution markets (downstream), the company would not have incentives to make it difficult for publishers competing with Activision Blizzard to access its platforms, as this would necessarily imply a reduction, in quantity and variety, of the catalogue of games available in the Xbox ecosystem, making the company’s products and services less attractive to consumers.
“With regard to the possibility of closing downstream markets, the analysis pointed out that, despite their relevance and popularity, Activision Blizzard games – and in particular the Call of Duty series – would not be essential assets to the performance of Microsoft’s current and potential competitors in the console and digital game distribution markets (considering, in the latter, both digital stores and multiple game subscription services for PC and consoles).
“Thus, even if the Activision Blizzard game catalogue were to become exclusive to the Microsoft ecosystem after the Transaction, SG/Cade considers that such exclusivity would not result in a substantial reduction in the levels of competition in the downstream markets, even if it could translate into a competitive advantage for Microsoft.”
Meanwhile, The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) recently laid out a timeline for its second phase of investigations into Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard, following concerns this deal could be deemed anti-competitive.