Microsoft Activision Merger Could "Stifle Competition" In Cloud Gaming

The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published the results of its investigation into the potential merger between Xbox and Activision Blizzard today. In its report, the governing body has claimed the merger could well do more harm than good to UK gamers, citing potential growth in Xbox's cloud gaming division as one of the reasons why.

The report acknowledges Xbox is something of an industry leader when it comes to cloud gaming, pointing out that Microsoft is responsible for roughly 60 to 70 percent of cloud gaming services in the world today. After noting that, the report reads that the acquisition of one of the biggest video game studios in the world in Activision Blizzard would only increase the hold Xbox and Microsoft already have over cloud gaming.

“The CMA provisionally found that buying one of the world’s most important game publishers would reinforce this strong position and substantially reduce the competition that Microsoft would otherwise face in the cloud gaming market in the UK,” the report reads. “This could alter the future of gaming, potentially harming UK gamers, particularly those who cannot afford or do not want to buy an expensive gaming console or gaming PC.”

While Xbox is certainly leaps and bounds ahead of PlayStation when it comes to cloud gaming, it has largely felt like its goal is to use streaming to make games more affordable rather than inaccessible due to price. Xbox games can now be streamed through certain Samsung TVs without the need for a console, and Phil Spencer previously confirmed the company's Project Keystone cloud console isn't here yet since Xbox can't realistically get its price low enough.

The full report naturally goes into a lot more than just a fear that Xbox will have a stranglehold on the cloud gaming space should its Activision deal go through. Call of Duty gets a mention, of course, with the CMA suggesting the series not be included in a potential deal at all. Xbox has pledged multiple times to keep CoD on PlayStation if it acquires Activison, offering its rival a decade-long deal that was turned down.

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