The UK's Competition and Markets Authority has finally greenlit Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard, which could mean the publisher will be under Xbox control before the end of the year.
The British regulator was the last to approve the deal, having initially rejected it on the grounds that it would stifle competition in the cloud gaming space. However, a deal was struck whereby Ubisoft is to buy the cloud streaming rights to Activision and Blizzard games instead.
The news came as Sony confirmed a new PS5 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III bundle is on its way. It's a great indication that PlayStation fans needn't worry about the impact of the deal on the future of COD for their consoles. The PS5 is even getting exclusive DLC for those who pre-ordered the game.
The new bundle will release on 10 November – the same day as the game itself.
The PS5 Console – Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III Bundle releases same day as the game’s launch on 10th November. pic.twitter.com/APTBm9lND5October 11, 2023
Sony hasn't yet released any images of the PS5 COD bundle leading some to believe that it will contain the new PS5 "Slim" rather than the larger existing model. We don't yet have pricing details neither.
As for the Activision deal, the CMA's statement effectively ends one of the games industry's most drawn-out episodes. Microsoft originally announced its intention to purchase Activision Blizzard for $68.7 million in January 2022, making it the biggest gaming acquisition of all time.
But, it faced opposition from Sony and several regulators around the world, which lead to a couple of infamous court cases and the eventual concession to sell the cloud gaming side of the company to another publisher.
That saga is now set to close. Microsoft will own Activision Blizzard and its game properties soon, including the Call of Duty, Warcraft, Diablo, Crash Bandicoot, and several other major franchises – some of which have been shelved for a while but may again see the light of day now there is fresh investment.
We might even see the COD archive appear on Xbox Game Pass soon – although Ubisoft will have to approve any appearance on Xbox Cloud Gaming.