Microsoft Activision deal receives approval in Brazil

Brazil’s regulatory body has decided that an Xbox only Call Of Duty won’t give Microsoft any significant advantages.

To some, it may seem like a done deal, but it’s still entirely possible for Microsoft’s £50 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard to be blocked. Something Wall Street at one point was betting will happen.

The deal is being scrutinised by regulators worldwide to ensure it doesn’t violate antitrust laws.

Fortunately for Microsoft, it’s passed one hurdle and has received approval from Brazil’s Administrative Council for Economic Defence (CADE).

Ultimately, the CADE has concluded that Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard and its franchises (Call Of Duty being chief among them) won’t provide the company any unfair advantages against its competitors.

Sony has previously argued that Call Of Duty is so popular that it becoming an Xbox exclusive would see PlayStation customers abandon the platform in favour of Xbox.

However, the CADE has countered that, in such a situation, it’s just as likely that PlayStation users will be loyal enough to instead give up Call Of Duty and migrate to other games.

‘Considering the huge popularity of Call Of Duty, it is reasonable to infer that if Activision Blizzard games were no longer available on Sony consoles, PlayStation users could decide to migrate to Xbox, or even a PC, to continue having access to franchise games,’ reads the publicly available summary (via Google Translate).

‘On the other hand, it’s also reasonable to assume that if upcoming Call Of Duty games became exclusive to the Microsoft ecosystem, players loyal to the PlayStation brand could simply abandon the series, migrating their demand to other games available on their favourite console.’

The CADE adds that Call Of Duty going Xbox only would, at least in the short term, actually hurt its sales and cost it its player numbers since it would be available on less platforms.

‘Such a hypothetical scenario could not only negatively impact the franchise’s numbers, but also favour other multiplatform games similar to Call Of Duty that remain on PlayStation, such as competing series such as Battlefield and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six,’ it says.

Brazil isn’t the only one to approve the acquisition either. Back in August, Saudi Arabia’s regulatory body also stated it had no objections to the deal.

This is all good news for Microsoft, though other regulators have yet to reach a decision.

Earlier this week, Seeking Alpha reported that the US’ Federal Trade Commission will share its decision as early as late November.

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority, meanwhile, has set a deadline of March 1, 2023, to publish its final report on the matter. It’s also expressed concerns that the acquisition will ‘significantly weaken’ PlayStation, thus prompting a second, more thorough investigation.

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