The Korean Fair Trade Commission has unconditionally cleared the Microsoft Activision-Blizzard deal, citing that it has no concerns if Blizzard games are made exclusive for Microsoft.
The KFTC has claimed that the popularity of Blizzard games is particularly low in South Korea, as opposed to other regions that are contesting the deal. The console shares for either of these companies are reported to be low in South Korea. Even the most popular titles, Call of Duty and Diablo, hold a miniscule zero to 2% of the total market share.
In the official statement released by KFTC, it says,
“The combined market share of games developed and distributed by Microsoft and Blizzard is small, the popularity of Blizzard’s major games in Korea is not as high as overseas, and there are a number of popular game developers that competitors can deal with alternatively, so there is no possibility of foreclosure to exclude competing game service companies.”
KFTC was a part of discussion with other countries’ competition authorities and recognizes that this decision may not have been possible for them to make as Blizzard games hold more importance in regions like Europe and Americas. It has claimed that the gaming industry is unique in each region, and this Microsoft Activision-Blizzard deal may impact the industries in separate regions differently. However, since its legislation is restricted to South Korea, it has deemed it apt to show no blockage for the deal.
As of today, the Microsoft Activision-Blizzard deal has gotten approval from almost 40 global competition authorities, including China, European Commission, and now South Korea. UK and US are two key holdouts, declining to clear this deal, believing it may have a negative impact on cloud gaming services vertical. This vertical is fairly new, and the major concern of UK and US regulators is the impact of handing off the exclusivity of two of the most popular cloud gaming titles by Blizzard, World of Warcraft and Call of Duty, to Microsoft, making them Xbox exclusive.
Source – Korea JoongAng Daily