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Regulator retreats in battle for Call of Duty

The mega-merger between Microsoft and Call Of Duty maker Activision Blizzard looks likely to be waved through after regulators softened their concerns around the tie-up.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said after receiving ‘a significant amount of new evidence’ that it no longer believed there was a risk of a ‘substantial lessening of competition’ in the UK’s console gaming market.

War zone: The CMA said that it no longer believed there was a risk of a 'substantial lessening of competition' in the UK's console gaming market

War zone: The CMA said that it no longer believed there was a risk of a ‘substantial lessening of competition’ in the UK’s console gaming market

A key point of friction for regulators in the UK, as well as Europe and the US, has been that if the merger was successful, Microsoft would only allow Call Of Duty to be played on its Xbox consoles, blocking access to rivals such as Sony’s PlayStation.

But Martin Coleman, chairman of an independent panel of experts investigating the merger at the CMA, explained the regulator’s U-turn by saying the cost to Microsoft of blocking access to Call Of Duty on PlayStation ‘would outweigh any gains from taking such action’.

A Microsoft spokesman said: ‘We appreciate the CMA’s rigorous and thorough evaluation of the evidence.’

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