Britain said it would block Microsoft’s $69-billion acquisition of Call of Duty maker Activision Blizzard over its concerns it would harm competition in cloud gaming.
The country’s antitrust regulator said Microsoft’s commitment to offer access to Activision’s multi-billion dollar Call of Duty franchise to leading cloud gaming platforms would not effectively remedy its concerns.
Microsoft said in a statement it remained fully committed to this acquisition and would appeal.
The surprise ruling comes after the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) last month dropped its concerns about the impact of the deal on the console market led by Sony’s market-leading PlayStation.
That left cloud streaming services as the remaining hurdle, which Microsoft sought to overcome by signing licensing deals with the owners of streaming platforms including Valve Corp, Nvidia NVDA.O and Boosteroid.