Brazil gives Microsoft-Activision acquisition its full restriction-free approval

Brazil's regulators have approved Microsoft's merger with Activision Blizzard, giving the Xbox maker "unrestricted approval" to purchase the Call of Duty publisher.

Regulators in Brazil have approved Microsoft's bid to acquire Activision Blizzard. In its lengthy filing (translated via Google), the Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE) wrote that it was doing so with "unrestricted approval," and is the second global regulatory agency after Saudi Arabia in August to let the acquisition proceed as planned. 

Sony has repeatedly attempted to undermine the acquisition, pointing out to Brazil (and anyone who will listen) that Microsoft owning the Call of Duty publisher would be unfair to those who play the shooter franchise on PlayStation. CADE argued that no restrictions were needed, saying that Call of Duty wouldn't be an "essential asset" to the performance of Microsoft's competitors. 

"Even if the Activision Blizzard game catalog were to become exclusive to the Microsoft ecosystem after the transaction, SG/Cade considers that such exclusivity would not result in a substantial reduction in the levels of competition in the downstream markets, even if it could translate into a competitive advantage for Microsoft," it wrote. 

CADE further added that despite Sony's insistence that Microsoft could keep a franchise such as Call of Duty or Overwatch exclusive to Xbox and drive players towards the Xbox ecosystem, PlayStation owners could "simply abandon the series, migrating their demand to other games available on their favorite console."

While acknowledging that exclusive content has been a primary driver of the console game industry, CADE argued that Sony has been using a similar type of exclusivity to power the PlayStation brand for decades. It also argued that this merger wouldn't really have much of an effect on Sony or Nintendo, the latter of which hasn't voiced any objections to the merger. 

The approval process for Microsoft's acquisition will continue until at least spring 2023 in the UK, but the Xbox maker is certainly confident luck will fall on its side. Earlier in the week, Microsoft launched a website to convince people of the merger's benefits, promising that it would lead to "greater competition" in both console and mobile gaming markets. 

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