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Canada voices disapproval of Microsoft-Activision merger

Like the CMA and FTC, Canada has some concerns about what could be lost if Microsoft gains Activision Blizzard.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

June 29, 2023

1 Min Read
Graphic of various first-party Xbox franchise characters.

Canada's regulatory board has revealed it does not, in fact, support Microsoft's attempted merger of Activision Blizzard. 

Prior to its current trial against the FTC, a Microsoft memorandum claimed "every single worldwide regulator" (excluding the FTC and the CMA) has approved its merger with the Call of Duty publisher. Through lawyer Jonathan Bitran, the Canada Competition Bureau (CCB) called out the Xbox maker for its "factual inaccuracies."

To Microsoft's point, major regulators in regions such as Europe, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia have voiced their support for this merger in the past year. Still, Canada coming out as against the merger is notable, particularly since it's so late in the game and it hasn't yet made preventative moves like the FTC and CMA have been doing.   

In his letter, Bitran wrote that his organization told the two parties of its disapproval in early May. Its primary point of concern was that the merger was "likely to result in a substantial prevention and/or lessening of competition with respect to gaming consoles and multigame subscription services."

Much like with the CMA, cloud game technology is also of worry for the CCB. Bitran said that the regulator will "[continue] to monitor the transaction."

Whatever outcome awaits Microsoft's hearing with the FTC, it still has to contend with the CMA in late July after working to appeal the UK regulator's block back in April. 

Microsoft later sent a brief statement to Game Developer regarding the CCB letter, saying it would "continue to work with regulators around the world to address any remaining concerns."

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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