The EU will launch an in-depth investigation into the Microsoft – Activision deal
Microsoftthe decision to buy Activision Blizzard has rocked the gaming industry. The massive deal is worth $68.7 billion and is likely to shake up the hierarchy of the sector once finalized. Microsoft is convinced that the deal will continue.
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However, it looks like it will be some time before the deal is finalized. Regulators from the European Union have opened an in-depth investigation into the deal involving two of the biggest players in the industry. The investigation will assess the potential impact on competition if the deal is terminated.
The European Commission began its investigation into the purchase in September. It was set for November 8th deadline to approve the agreement or initiate an in-depth review. Regulators opted for the latter after the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) signaled its intention for a deeper investigation.
According to the statement of the European Commissionthe decision was made on the belief that the deal would “significantly lessen competition in the markets for console and PC video game distribution, including multi-game subscription services and/or cloud game streaming services, and for systems operating PCs.”
The commission also stated that it was concerned that Microsoft “could block access to Activision Blizzard’s console and PC video games,” which include the popular Call of Duty franchise. Sony has said that Microsoft intends to do so Exclusive to the Call of Duty series. Microsoft has repeatedly denied this and instead revealed that it wants to keep Call of Duty a cross-platform title.
“Such foreclosure strategies may reduce competition in the console and PC video game distribution markets,” the statement said, “leading to higher prices, lower quality, and less innovation for distributors.” of console games, which, on the other hand, can be skipped. to consumers”.
“The Commission is concerned that Microsoft could reduce the ability of rival PC operating system providers to compete with Microsoft’s Windows operating system by combining Activision Blizzard’s games and Microsoft’s distribution of games through Windows cloud game streaming. to discourage users from purchasing non-Windows PCs,” the statement added.
The European Commission has 90 days to submit a final report. The deadline for submitting his findings will therefore be March 23, 2023.
The in-depth investigation was widely expected after the UK CMA had previously decided to probe deeper into the deal. According to the CMA, the deal could “give rise to a realistic prospect of a significant lessening of competition in game consoles, multi-game subscription services and cloud gaming services”. Microsoft has attacked UK regulatorsaccusing them of siding with Sony and calling their concerns “misplaced”.
Saudi Arabia was the first country to approve the merger between the two gaming giants. Brazil too positively approved the agreement after hearing arguments from Microsoft and other industry players.
CEO of Activision Blizzard Bobby Kotick said that the completion of the merger is expected to be finalized in June 2023.
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