Microsoft's purchase of Activision Blizzard gets the thumbs up from South Korea

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Microsoft's plan to buy game publisher Activision Blizzard got another seal of approval today. The South Korea regulatory body known as the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) revealed it will allow the purchase to go through in that country.

In its decision (via VGC), the KFTC noted that Activision Blizzard's games are not as popular in South Korea compared to other parts of the world:

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.

Ironically, this wasn't always the case. Blizzard's sci-fi RTS game Starcraft was once extremely popular in South Korea, especially in the 2000s. It was a massive eSports hit in that country, even after a scandal in 2010 broke out that accused several pro Starcraft players of intentionally losing matches.

The KFTC also noted that it "exchanged views with major overseas competition authorities" to find their views on Microsoft's acquisition plans for Activision Blizzard. However, the KFTC did state that the purchase could affect the game industry in other countries and territories more than in South Korea.

This new decision means that the vast majority of countries and territories have approved of Microsoft's purchase of Activision Blizzard. That includes the European Union, who gave their stamp of approval earlier this month.

The UK's Competition and Markets Authority decided to block the deal in April, but that case is currently under an appeal. The US Federal Trade Commission decided to sue Microsoft over this deal in December 2022, and that case is expected to go to trial sometime later this summer.

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