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75% of public comments on Microsoft-Activision were in favor of deal, says UK CMA

Regulator received roughly 2,600 emails during open comment period, but 500 were excluded for abusive content, other reasons

Roughly three quarters of public comments on the proposed Microsoft acquisition of Activision Blizzard were in favor of the deal going through, the UK's Competition and Markets Authority revealed today.

The comments were collected over two weeks in October as part of the regulator's inquiry into the deal. It received roughly 2,600 emails, but excluded around 500 because "they contained abusive content (with no other substantive content), or were blank, unintelligible, stated to be from non-UK consumers, or not in English."

The remaining 2,100 were split with three quarters in favor of the deal, one quarter against, and a negligible number taking no clear stance on the merger.

The CMA also included some of the reasons people stated for their stance. Some of the arguments in favor of the merger included the following:

  • Sony and Nintendo are stronger than Microsoft in console gaming, and the Merger will help Microsoft to compete more closely against them
  • Microsoft would not make Activision's content exclusive to Xbox post-Merger because it would lose significant potential revenue from rival platforms
  • The Merger is a reaction to Sony's business model for PlayStation, which has historically involved securing exclusive content or early access to popular cross-platform gaming franchises, such as Final Fantasy and Silent Hill
  • The Merger will allow Microsoft to provide Activision with better guidance and leadership, and to encourage it to invest more in games other than Call of Duty

As for those who argued against the merger, some of their views included the following:

  • The Merger would lead to consolidation and would set a harmful precedent in the gaming industry of acquiring large publishers rather than encouraging organic growth
  • Microsoft will make Call of Duty exclusive to Xbox, just as it did with Bethesda after it acquired ZeniMax Media
  • Microsoft can capture the multi-game subscription market after the Merger because it can afford to add games to Game Pass at a loss
  • Microsoft is already dominant in cloud gaming, and the Merger could affect the future of new entrants into that space

The CMA is due to release its final report on the acquisition by March 1 of 2023.