New Zealand has granted Microsoft clearance to buy Activision Blizzard, bringing the Windows and Xbox maker’s pending, $69 billion deal for one of the industry’s biggest gaming companies one step closer to finality. According to a media release shared by the island country’s Commerce Commission, New Zealand gave the green light because it found the deal was “unlikely” to lessen competition in its respective games market. Brad Smith, Vice Chair and President at Microsoft, echoed the news through Twitter/X, explaining that it continues to work on resolving outstanding concerns, which presumably includes those from the UK’s CMA.
“While Activision games, in particular Call of Duty, are popular with New Zealand gamers, our enquiries did not find that they are likely to be ‘must have’ in order to compete with Microsoft in New Zealand.”
Both Microsoft and Activision are developers, publishers and distributors of video games for personal computer (PC), gaming consoles and mobile platforms. In addition, Microsoft produces and sells the Xbox range of video-game consoles, as well as PC hardware and peripherals, and offers cloud computing services.
In reaching its decision, the Commission focused on the importance of Activision games (such as Call of Duty, Overwatch and World of Warcraft) to New Zealand gamers, and whether Microsoft would be likely to stop rivals like Sony and NVIDIA from offering those games on consoles and on cloud platforms.
Commission Chair Dr John Small said the Commission was satisfied that the merger is unlikely to substantially lessen competition in any New Zealand market.
With today’s approval from New Zealand, we’re cleared to move forward with our acquisition of Activision Blizzard in 41 countries. We will continue to work to resolve outstanding concerns and bring this deal to a close. https://t.co/PwoJj490Ah— Brad Smith (@BradSmi) August 8, 2023