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Microsoft gains support from Nintento, Nvidia for Activision deal

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Feb 22, 2023
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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Microsoft is in dealmaking mode in a bid to get industry support as it looks to get its $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard across the finish line.

Why it matters: Microsoft needs all the friends it can get. It is facing off against three regulatory bodies — all of which have signaled some level of unease about the deal — and one very powerful rival in Sony.

Driving the news: Microsoft on Tuesday announced deals with Nintendo and Nvidia.

  • The 10-year deal with Nintendo will make Call of Duty available on Nintendo devices at the same time as Xbox and PlayStation.
  • The agreement with Nvidia makes Microsoft games available on its GeForce cloud gaming service; Activision titles such as CoD would be available only if the deal goes through.

Of note: The dual deals came as Microsoft was defending its deal to European Union regulators during a closed-door hearing in Brussels.

The big picture: Sony has loudly complained that Microsoft could stifle competition by making Activision gaming titles like CoD exclusive to Xbox. Regulators have also said they're wary that the deal would give Microsoft too much market power in cloud gaming.

  • Microsoft president Brad Smith said during a press briefing after Tuesday's hearing that the two deals are "addressing the full range of issues that had been raised by regulators as topics of not just interest, but, in some cases, concern."

Flashback: Earlier this month, the U.K.'s competition regulator "provisionally concluded" that Microsoft's $69 billion bid to buy Activision Blizzard would harm competition in gaming.

  • The U.K.'s Competition and Markets Authority said it could be OK with the deal if Activision Blizzard were to divest itself of its Call of Duty teams, or Activision and even Blizzard overall.

What's next: The EU probe will end on April 11, with the U.K.'s set to conclude April 26. The FTC's probe will take longer.

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