Overwatch concept artwork showing Pharah and Genji

[Update #2]: Blizzard games are coming to Steam, starting with Overwatch 2 on August 10th.

[Update]: Plot twist! EU regulators have now approved the acquisition, which might just give Microsoft an upper hand in the upcoming legal scuffle.

In an announcement that I must admit comes as quite a surprise, the United Kingdom's Competition and Markets Authority has just announced that they are blocking Microsoft’s planned purchase of Activision Blizzard. This was done due to concerns over Microsoft becoming too dominant over the cloud gaming market as it already supposedly accounts for an estimated 60-70% of the global cloud gaming services.

"The UK cloud gaming market is growing fast. Monthly active users in the UK more than tripled from the start of 2021 to the end of 2022," reads the official explanation. "Microsoft has a strong position in cloud gaming services and the evidence available to the CMA showed that Microsoft would find it commercially beneficial to make Activision’s games exclusive to its own cloud gaming service."

"The cloud allows UK gamers to avoid buying expensive gaming consoles and PCs and gives them much more flexibility and choice as to how they play. Allowing Microsoft to take such a strong position in the cloud gaming market just as it begins to grow rapidly would risk undermining the innovation that is crucial to the development of these opportunities."

Microsoft has already stated that they are planning to fight this decision, so there is still a chance the deal might go through. It's a fairly small chance, however, as these types of appeals have historically been mostly unsuccessful.

While I personally wouldn't mind seeing Blizzard under new management given how messy things have been over there for the past few years, I also realize how potentially problematic it would be to have so many beloved series under the ownership of a singular company. So as much as this is going to shake Blizzard up even further, I think it's probably in the gaming public's best interest for the two companies to remain competitors.

Whatever your thoughts on the matter may be, you can read the full CMA report over at the official website.