Microsoft’s acquisition of Call of Duty developer has been backed by a US judge.

Microsoft stated that following the victory in the United States, it would concentrate on settling issues in the United Kingdom.

The merging of the IT titan and the owner of Call of Duty would be the largest deal of its sort in gaming industry history.

Activision’s stock rose more than 10% as investors banked on its success.

Regulators in the United States had argued that such a transaction, valued at $69 billion (£56 billion) last year, would harm gamers and limit competition by giving Microsoft, the maker of the Xbox, the right to deny rivals access to Activision’s games.

While challenging the plans, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sought an immediate halt to the deal, which is set to close later this month.

However, Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley stated that she did not believe the regulator would prevail in its case.

“The FTC has not demonstrated that its assertion that the combined firm will most likely pull Call of Duty from Sony PlayStation, or that its ownership of Activision content will significantly lessen competition in the video game library subscription and cloud gaming markets,” Judge Scott Corley wrote in her decision, delivered after a week-long hearing in San Francisco.

The US verdict is the clearest indication yet that the tech titan’s acquisition will go forward.

It comes after the European Union approved the transaction, and a UK move to stop the merger is presently under appeal.

Microsoft President Brad Smith stated that the corporation was “grateful” for the swift decision and would now focus on the United Kingdom.

He and the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority announced that the two parties had agreed to halt litigation while the company worked out a solution to the concerns, which had centered on the cloud gaming sector.

“We stand ready to consider any proposals from Microsoft to restructure the transaction in a way that addresses the concerns raised in our final report,” said a CMA spokesperson.

The developments appear to be a huge success for Microsoft, which is attempting to keep up with industry leaders PlayStation and Nintendo by investing extensively in game content that may entice players to pick its platforms, notably the Xbox system, over their competitors.

Activision Blizzard is responsible for big products such as Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Diablo, and Overwatch, and it also owns King, the Candy Crush producer.

The fate of the Call of Duty franchise was central to the regulators’ case.

Arguing on behalf of regulators, PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan stated in a video deposition that Microsoft would most likely restrict PlayStation customers’ access to the series or offer them a degraded version.

Microsoft, on the other hand, stated that it had given Sony a 10-year licensing arrangement for the game and argued that it would make no financial sense to limit access to such a vast audience.

“Our merger will benefit both consumers and employees.” It will foster competition rather than allow entrenched market leaders to continue to dominate our fast growing sector,” Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick stated following the judgment.

In a statement to employees, he said, “We’re optimistic that today’s ruling signals a path to full regulatory approval elsewhere around the world, and we stand ready to work with UK regulators to address any remaining concerns so our merger can close as soon as possible.”

The ruling in the United States does not always mark the end of the process. The FTC has the option to appeal the decision. It has also contested the merger in a separate administrative court proceeding.

“We are disappointed with this outcome given the clear threat that this merger poses to open competition in cloud gaming, subscription services, and consoles,” said FTC spokesperson Douglas Farrar. “We will announce our next step in the coming days to continue our fight to preserve competition and protect consumers.”

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