In January 2022 Microsoft announced that it was planning to purchase Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion. The deal has been under review by regulators since then, with regulators expressing concern that the deal could substantially lessen competition in gaming consoles, multi-game subscription services, and cloud gaming services (game streaming).

Today Brazilian regular CADE gave the deal their “unrestricted approval”, saying:

Act of Concentration. Ordinary procedure. Claimants: Microsoft Corporation and Activision Blizzard, Inc. Law 12.529/2011, art. 90, item II. Horizontal overlap in the markets for video game development and publishing, digital video game distribution, online advertising, and licensing for consumer products ( merchandising ). Low market shares in game publishing, online advertising and licensing for consumer products. Absence of causal link between the concentration generated in the digital distribution market and possible possibility of exercising market power. Vertical integrations and complementarities related to the game publishing, game distribution, game console and online advertising markets. No possibility of closing vertically related markets. Unrestricted approval.

Microsoft recently said that it will continue to engage with regulators with a spirit of transparency and openness as they review this acquisition. Microsoft claims the following benefits to consumers from the deal:

Microsoft Xbox Activision Blizzard

In a blog post Microsoft said they did not purchase Activision for its gaming catalogue, but rather its expertise in mobile gaming, saying: Bringing more games to mobile platforms, however, requires new capabilities. The expertise that the teams at Activision Blizzard bring in developing games for mobile platforms will help us understand how to create games that engage players around the world.

British regulators have been more sceptical and expressed concern that Microsoft would use Blizzard’s collection of games to boost their streaming game service and corner the streaming game market, and felt that these concerns warranted an in-depth Phase 2 investigation.