The European Commission is conducting a thorough investigation into Microsoft’s $69 billion bid to buy Activision Blizzard, with the European Commission declaring that it believes the deal could “significantly reduce competition” in a few areas, including the PC gaming and console markets, as well as between services. Cloud games.
According to the commission’s antitrust officials, Microsoft has the potential economic incentive to block competitors from accessing “high-level and highly successful games” from Activision Blizzard, including new Call of Duty entries, as well as the deal could unfairly benefit Windows in exchange for operating systems. PC competition.
On the surface, this sounds like an odd concern, but it’s worth noting that the success of devices like Steam Deck has made Linux something of a viable gaming alternative to Windows.
After this announcement, the European Commission has 90 working days to complete its investigation, a timetable that means the decision will arrive on March 23, 2023 at the latest, Engadget quoted Reuters as saying.
“For years Microsoft has been a major player across the gaming supply chain. It acquires Activision Blizzard, a hugely successful game content producer.
“We must ensure that opportunities remain for current and future distributors of PC and video game consoles, as well as for competing suppliers of PC operating systems,” said Margrethe Vestager, executive vice president of competition policy. “The point is to ensure that the gaming ecosystem remains vibrant for the benefit of users in a sector that is developing at a rapid pace.”
A Microsoft spokesperson told Engadget: “We continue to work with the European Commission on next steps and to address any market concerns.” He said we are committed to making the same game available on the same day on both Xbox and PlayStation, we want people to have more access to games, not less.”
Separately, Activision Blizzard has published a message from CEO Bobby Kotick. “The European Commission announced this week that we have entered the second phase of our review in the region, we will continue to cooperate with the European Commission as we have in the countries they represent, many staff,” We have worked closely with Microsoft to actively engage regulators in other key countries to answer their questions and provide them with information to help review them.
The commission won’t necessarily block the deal, but it could significantly delay the deal and force concessions on Microsoft. Xbox chief Phil Spencer has proactively tried to appease regulators, “We’re not taking Call of Duty out of PlayStation,” he recently said, “Our goal is not to, and as long as there’s PlayStation is there to ship it, our goal is that we will continue to ship Call of Duty on PlayStation.”