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Microsoft's bid to buy Activision Blizzard clears a key hurdle

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By KELVIN CHAN

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This is indeed strange - what's with the UK CMA attacking another region's decision? The other regions aren't attacking the CMA's decision. Is the CMA gonna attack the US too if the US court sides against the US FTC?

The EU so far has been the most sensible of the 3 (US, EU, UK) - they've just been doing their work quietly without sensationalizing, and they even had to quickly correct the US FTC (which is unheard of) being wrong about the EU's prior deal with Microsoft on the Zenimax acquisition

Meanwhile, in the US, it's just been political from the start. As the antitrust expert who successfully litigated the monopoly case against Microsoft in the 1990s stated: that the FTC head Khan has admittedly been taking antitrust cases to court, even with weak evidence and a losing case, just to demonstrate to US Congress that the country needs new antitrust legislation. In other words, these cases are FTC political shows for Congress.

(In fact, the FTC just recently lost such a big case in court: "Meta Acquisition of Within Approved by Court in Stinging Loss for FTC")

https://www.cnbc.com/2023/02/01/ftc-loses-attempt-to-block-meta-acquisition-of-within.html

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The UK is such a small market compared to the EU, and yet they're the most vocal about the mere 3%-5% marketshare that cloud gaming occupies in the overall global gaming market, and yet the least who wants to do the work. (By what work? Regulators regulate, and yet they don't want to do that - one of the big reasons they blocked the merger is they don't want to do the work monitoring whether Microsoft is following through on their concession deals. While the EU regulators are OK doing the work to monitor that Microsoft's deals are being followed through)

What cloud gaming needs most right now is investment, as it's still in the precipice whether it'll succeed for the long-term or not. We have already one big company drop out (Google Stadia). Only 2 have been making sustained investments (Microsoft and Nvidia); 1 just recently re-invested (Sony); while the rest are still niche. (Incidentally Nvidia, being the 2nd largest subscription service and biggest competitor to Microsoft, is OK with the merger as well)

There are 2 big gatekeepers in the form of iOS and Android mobile - both don't like adding competitors to their lucrative game stores. But in order for cloud gaming to grow, it not only has to be on mobile (where most people are nowadays) but have things that would attract said peoples

If the UK CMA decision deters further investment in the cloud gaming market and it doesn't grow much beyond the mere 3%-5% niche market, ironically that'd actually create a near-monopoly in the UK market, as Sony itself would dominate the --as the US FTC's own words-- "high performance console market" (the FTC intentionally excluded Nintendo from their new market definition)

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