Will Microsoft Bar Rivals After the Activision Deal? EU Asks Devs

October 11, 2022
1 min read

EU antitrust regulatory authorities issued an update on the unsettled Microsoft Activision Blizzard merger, asking game developers to comment on whether Microsoft will be incentivized to prevent rivals from accessing “Call of Duty” and other Activision Blizzard best-selling titles.

This information was obtained by Reuters from an EU antitrust regulator document. By Nov. 8, EU authorities are expected to make a preliminary decision on Microsoft’s proposed $69 billion merger with Activision.

The questionnaire, which had about a hundred questions, asked which of the competitors, including Facebook Gaming, Google Stadia, Sony’s Playstation, Nvidia’s GeForce Now, and Amazon Luna, might be the most alluring after the deal, according to Reuters.

Will Microsoft Block Rivals After the Activision Deal?

The document reveals that the EU competition representative questioned whether Activision’s vast user database would give the American software giant a competitive edge in creating, publishing, and distributing computer and console games.

According to News18, the European Commission is anticipated to launch a four-month investigation following the market authority’s decision next month, highlighting regulatory concerns about large player acquisitions. Authorities believe that this merger may result in a significant reduction in competition in a number of European markets.

Furthermore, regulators sought to determine if there would be enough alternate vendors in the market following the purchase and if Microsoft would decide to make Activision’s games sold exclusively on its Xbox, Games Pass, and cloud-based streaming services. 

Unless the parties provide acceptable undertakings to address these competition concerns, this merger will be referred for a thorough investigation.

Microsoft Defends Acquisition

Microsoft stated in a statement that acquiring Activision Blizzard would provide better revenue, fair marketplace rules, and greater flexibility in payment systems. Aside from that, the world’s largest technology company promised that once Blizzard is acquired, gamers will benefit from more games on PlayStation, smartphones, and online.

Meanwhile, European market officials questioned whether such exclusivity clauses will indeed strengthen Microsoft’s Windows operating system in comparison to competitors and whether the inclusion of Activision in its PC operating system, cloud computing services, and game-related software solutions gives it a competitive advantage in the games industry.

Companies that receive the questionnaire have until Oct. 10 to respond. The regulators will decide whether or not to approve the deal, but the EU is expected to join the UK in undertaking the second phase of inquiry.

In Other News

Microsoft has decided to create a full website to explain the details of its acquisition of Activision Blizzard after a lengthy period of compliance aspects. The website focuses on explaining the benefits of the deal if it goes through.

The website offers essential information about the transaction, such as updates, quotes, and even charts. In terms of approval, the European Commission has set a deadline for either approving the deal or opening a new investigation.

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