Recent events have made the Activision Blizzard acquisition appear more likely for Microsoft. The CMA recently cleared its suspicion of harm to console competition and is now focused on the cloud market.
Additionally, a lawsuit from gamers against Microsoft was also dismissed. While none of this guarantees the deal’s success, they are small but meaningful steps toward Microsoft’s ultimate goal.
A few days after these events, Japan joined the list of countries approving the Activision Blizzard acquisition. The Japan Fair Trade Commission believes the merger will not harm competition in the country.
Previously, countries like Serbia, Chile, and Brazil approved the ongoing merger. With Japan joining the list, over five countries are now in favor of the deal.
Sony and Nintendo are the dominant forces in the Japanese console market. Microsoft makes up for only a tiny fraction of the gaming industry in the region, eliminating the risks of a monopoly after the merger.
Much of the tension around the deal has revolved around Call of Duty. However, Call of Duty is generally not as popular in Japan, making it much easier for the Japan Fair Trade Commission to reach a definite conclusion.
JRPGs games and major franchises like Final Fantasy also have a limited presence on Xbox consoles. Big AAA releases like Final Fantasy 7 Remake are still console exclusive to PlayStation, giving the Japanese audience little reason to try the Xbox brand.
Final Fantasy 16 is also released as a PlayStation 5 console exclusive, and it remains to be seen if the game will eventually make its way to the Xbox platform.
The following months are expected to be extremely important for the future of the Activision deal. Regulators like the CMA will reveal their final decision in April, and this recent approval may help Microsoft make a better case for the merger.
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