The New Zealand Commerce Commission said it has received an application from Microsoft to clear its offer to buy popular video games developer Activision Blizzard.
Microsoft's all-cash offer of NZ$108.3 billion for Activision Blizzard makes it one of the largest corporate acquisitions ever, with regulators around the world scrutinising the impact of the deal.
The Commission notes that Microsoft distributes its own video games in New Zealand through the Microsoft and Xbox Stores, and Bethesda.net; Microsoft bought the latter in 2021 for NZ$11.8 billion.
On top of its own games like Minecraft, Forza, Elder Scrolls and Halo through a variety of channels such as Xbox Live and Game Pass subscriptions, and hardware Xbox consoles, Microsoft also distributes very popular Activision Blizzard titles such as Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Overwatch and Candy Crush.
Whether or not the Commission will clear Microsoft's buy of Activision Blizzard depends on if the regulator is satisfied that the merger is unlikely to substantially lessen competition in a market.
Microsoft has sought to win over market regulators worldwide to provide clearance for the deal, by making App Store commitments to allow third-party games and not to give its own titles preferential treatment.
Globally, the gaming market is estimated to be worth NZ$275 billion.
The Interactive Games and Entertainment Association sales data showed that New Zealanders spent $540 million on games and consoles last year.