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The KFTC explained that in terms of South Korea specifically, the popularity of Activision Blizzard games is fairly low, and as such their importance to platform holders isn’t as important in that region.
“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,” the KFTC’s statement reads.
“Even in the event of a blockade, the effect of converting competitors’ consumers to its service subscribers is minimal due to the low popularity of Blizzard’s games, and competitors have a significant market share, so there is no risk of exclusion from competition.”
The KFTC also pointed out that it held discussions with its equivalent competition authorities in other countries to get their views on the deal, but noted that their decisions may differ because Activision Blizzard’s games are more important in those regions.
“Considering that this is a merger between global companies, the KFTC exchanged views with major overseas competition authorities through several video conferences and collected opinions from stakeholders, including competitors, to reach a final conclusion based on a multifaceted analysis of the impact of the merger on the domestic market,” it explained.
“However, the different judgements on whether to approve this case are due to the significant differences in the competitive situation of the gaming market in each country and the fact that the competition authorities of each country focused on the impact on their domestic markets.”
The proposed acquisition has now recevied approval from nearly 40 global regulators – earlier this month the European Commission and China’s competition regulator both cleared the deal, which would see Microsoft gain ownership of popular gaming franchises including Call of Duty and World of Warcraft.
However, the UK and US continue to be sticking points for Microsoft. In April, the UK’s Competition and Market Authority (CMA) said it was preventing the $69 billion deal due to concerns about its impact on the nascent cloud gaming market.
Microsoft officially lodged its appeal against the CMA’s decision last week, calling the decision “bad for Britain”.
The US Federal Trade Commission has also sued Microsoft in a bid to block the proposed acquisition over antitrust concerns.