The very contentious transaction between Microsoft and Activision-Blizzard is poised to go through, but not until Microsoft makes more concessions.

At the very least, Ampere Analysis analyst Piers Harding-Rolls thinks this is the case. Harding-Rolls has provided one of the more insightful forecasts for the upcoming year, which is something that does at the beginning of each new year by soliciting forecasts from several well-known industry analysts.

The problem that nobody wants to talk about? The rumoured combination of Microsoft and the video game publisher Activision-Blizzard has been the topic of conversation for a considerable time now, and it is easy to see why. The Federal Trade Commission filed a lawsuit against Microsoft to halt the merger one month ago. Recent sources state that Microsoft is prepared to provide concessions to accelerate the approval process and close the purchase. According to statements made by FTC attorney James Weingarten at a brief pre-trial hearing that took place yesterday over the phone and that was published by Reuters, there are presently no “substantive” settlement discussions taking on between the FTC and Microsoft.

According to Harding-Rolls’ forecast for this year, the alleged concessions are anticipated to be crucial for successfully completing the purchase.

The analyst asks,

“Will the Microsoft-ABK merger be finalized?”

in his report.

“Yes, but only if more concessions are made. These might center on the titles that are included in Game Pass as well as the availability of such games on other providers. I believe there is a greater probability of the agreement being finalized with compromises as opposed to it being scrapped altogether.”

When the merger is completed is something that relies on whether or not the matter will be heard in court. If this is indeed the situation, it is possible that the transaction will not be finalized until the second half of 2023 at the earliest.

“When will the transaction be finalized? It is possible that it will still be ongoing throughout the second half of the year 2023, particularly if the FTC’s case is tried in court. It is feasible that the first half of 2023 may pass without Microsoft having to go to court if they agree to make concessions.”

The analyst also shared his thoughts on the subscription services offered by Microsoft and Sony, stating that he anticipates considerable expansion for the Xbox Game Pass this year.

“I believe there is cause to be optimistic about the games subscription services market in 2023 despite the fact that the largest games subscription services failed to meet their growth objectives in 2022. As a result of the addition of first-party titles that have been eagerly anticipated, I predict that Game Pass will see tremendous growth in the year 2023. Expect to see an increase in the number of mobile games included in Game Pass if the ABK acquisition is finalized. Additionally, I anticipate Sony will obtain more of its own third-party day one releases for PS Plus Extra and Premium, and I believe this will contribute to the expansion of the service’s user base.”

These are exciting forecasts, but it’s important to remember that they are all forecasts, so take them with a grain of salt. On the other hand, many of Harding-Rolls’ estimates for 2022 were accurate.

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