Microsoft's bid to purchase Activision Blizzard has hit a stumbling block, after the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) blocked it earlier today. The regulatory body is an arm of the UK Government responsible for ensuring healthy competition across all markets in the UK.
The deal would have seen Microsoft – the company behind devices like the Xbox Series X – take over the franchise behind massive titles like Call of Duty. The takeover has been littered with back-and-forth arguments, most notably with Sony. Their PS5, and other PlayStation models before it, have long been the main competitor for Xbox devices.
Sony took issue with the potential ringfencing of titles like Call of Duty, which brings a significant proportion of users to their platform. Documents submitted also leaked a potential release date for the PS6.
In their ruling, the CMA actually said that they were content with Microsoft's presentation when it came to console gaming. They commented that they were happy competition in that market would not be negatively affected.
Where they did take issue was in the emerging cloud gaming market. There, Microsoft's plans to ensure a competitive market were deemed unsatisfactory, with the CMA commenting that they "would have replaced competition with ineffective regulation."
What happens next is anyone's guess. Given the amount of effort that Microsoft have already put into proceedings, I'd expect to see some kind of appeal. One thing's for sure though – if you're looking out for Call of Duty on a Nintendo Switch, you might be waiting a little longer.