Diablo 4, World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, Overwatch 2, and all Activision Blizzard games may soon be owned by Microsoft, as the merger between the two companies is approved by the European Union. However, the approximately $69 billion (£55 billion) deal has been rejected by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority, with both Microsoft and RPG game and Diablo 4 creator Activision Blizzard currently planning to appeal. Now, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella doesn’t rule out the possibility that, in the future, Activision Blizzard games may not release in the UK if the acquisition is not approved.
On May 15, the EU formally approved Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, outlining remedies offered by Microsoft to resolve anti-competition concerns particularly relating to cloud gaming services. The deal however is still facing scrutiny from the Federal Trade Commission in the US, and has been officially rejected in the UK, owing to its potential to reduce competition and consumer choice in the gaming market.
Speaking about the acquisition, Satya Nadella, who became Microsoft CEO in 2014 and has helped spearhead the Game Pass service, says that the acquisition is “pro-competitive,” and that the company “respects” both the UK and the CMA’s “sovereignty.”
“We have a process,” Nadella says. “We obviously respect the sovereignty of the United Kingdom and the CMA to decide what’s good in that country. In some sense, this is the most pro-competitive thing I’ve ever seen. It is using in some sense a large company’s ability to persist and introduce more competition.”
However, during an interview on CNBC’s ‘Squawk Box’ segment, Nadella is asked whether it is conceivable, in the future, that games are sold in the EU and the US, if the acquisition was approved, but not in the UK.
“Do you ever see an age where you would sell the product in the US if it was approved, sell the products in Europe, and not sell them in the UK if they didn’t approve it?,” host Andrew Ross Sorkin asks. “Let’s wait for it all to play out,” Nadella responds. You can see the full clip from CNBC below:
While this is far from confirmation regarding any of Microsoft’s plans, Nadella doesn’t appear to discount the possibility that future Activision Blizzard titles may not be made available in the UK, if the acquisition deal remains blocked.
Microsoft vice president Brad Smith previously confirmed that the company would appeal the CMA’s decision, while Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has said that the CMA’s ruling does not represent “the final word” regarding the merger. The United States’ FTC will take its case to administrative court on August 2.
As we await news on the Microsoft acquisition of Activision Blizzard, check out all you need to know about the Diablo 4 classes. We also have a full explainer for the tricky Diablo 4 renown system, and all the latest on the Diablo 4 release date, new details, and coming changes.