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EU ‘in-depth investigation’ could cause problems for Microsoft / Activision deal

EU ‘in-depth investigation’ could cause problems for Microsoft / Activision deal

A magnifying glass examines the surface covered with the logos of different companies.
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The European Commission said today preliminary investigation from Microsoft Proposed to buy Activision Blizzard for $69 billion “It may significantly reduce market competition for the distribution of video game consoles and computers.” As such, the government group now open what you call an “in-depth investigation” of the proposed merger, which it says will be completed by March 23, 2023.

“We must ensure that opportunities remain for current and future distributors of computer and video game consoles, as well as for competing suppliers of computer operating systems,” EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement. “The point is to ensure the gaming ecosystem remains vibrant for the benefit of users in a rapidly evolving sector. Our in-depth investigation will assess how the deal impacts the gaming supply chain.”

specific concerns

In announcing the new investigation, the committee says it is “particularly concerned” that the merger will “prevent access” to “high-level, highly successful games… such as Call of dutyon non-Microsoft platforms. In response to such concerns, Microsoft I promised recently It will guarantee Call of duty It stayed on PlayStation platforms “as long as there’s a PlayStation”.

وفقًا لما ذكرته شركة Microsoft ، سيستمر لاعبي ألعاب PlayStation في ارتداء ملابس مثل هذه في ألعاب <em> Call of Duty </em> indefinitely.” src=”https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/cods-640×360.png” width=”640″ height=”360″ srcset=”https: //cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/cods.png 2x”/></a><figcaption class=
Zoom / PlayStation players will continue to wear clothes like this Call of duty Games indefinitely, according to Microsoft.

The commission’s announcement also highlights concerns that the merger could cut access to Activision Blizzard’s games to compete with “multi-game subscription and/or cloud game streaming services”. This move could be “at the expense of competing distributors of PC and PC video games” by offering competing subscription services Like PlayStation Plus less attractive.

There may be something to this argument – in September, a Microsoft مدونة Blog Post Highlight how the company intends to make Activision Blizzard franchises like Note and watchAnd the DiabloAnd the Call of duty An essential part of Game Pass subscriptions after acquisition. But Microsoft argues that the move will actually bring more games to more players, not less “due to the cloud-streaming technology that allows Game Pass titles to be played on mobile platforms (but maybe not, for example, on mobile). Nintendo Switch).

Finally, the commission says it is concerned that Microsoft’s control of Activision Blizzard’s catalog of games may “discourage users from buying non-Windows PCs.” This is a slightly strange argument, since Windows is currently It accounts for more than 96 percent of total usage On the popular computer game platform Steam. It’s hard to see full control of Activision’s content causing this number to grow purposefully.

The in-depth investigation of the European Union is running in parallel with A similar ‘Phase Two’ investigation by the UK Competition and Markets Authority. Hearings are scheduled for December in this investigation, which is Expected to expire by March 1, 2023.

In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission has It said In particular, it raised “significant concerns” about the proposed transaction as part of a “staff level” review. The initial decision in this case could come as early as late November, at which point it will be sent to the FTC’s full competition office.

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