While Microsoft will today appeal the decision of the CMA to block the acquisition of Activision Blizzard, we learn at the same time that Korea has, for its part, approved the takeover.
Korea approves takeover
As announced in the columns of Koreatimes, the Korean antitrust regulator has decided to approve the acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft, because the operation according to him is not likely to hinder competition in the Korean video game market.
After reviewing the situation, we have concluded that Microsoft is unlikely to pursue a lockdown strategy of exclusively distributing Blizzard’s games on its own platforms.
The authority also specifies that this decision will not exclude competitors from the market, even in the event of a foreclosure of the latter by Microsoft, since Microsoft and Activison-Blizzard games represent only a small part of the market, and are not as popular in Korea as they are in the rest of the world.
She mentions in particular that these games represented in 2021 2 to 4% of the Korean market for console games, and 4 to 6% of the market for cloud gaming services.
Korean gamers more adept at PC and PlayStation consoles
Unsurprisingly, it is also specified that the Korean market is not very fond of Microsoft consoles anyway, since Sony currently occupies 70 to 80% of the console market, against 5 to 10% for Xbox on the territory.
Additionally, the number of console users in Korea is low, with Korean gamers showing a stronger preference for PC games:
The number of console users in the domestic market is low, with people showing a relatively stronger preference for PC games
The likelihood of Microsoft restricting competition is limited, given that it is primarily focused on delivering cloud-based content through Xbox consoles.
After Europe, China and Japan, it is a new major video game territory that validates the takeover. It now only remains the British CMA and the FTC to convince for the acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft to be final.