EU Antitrust Regulators Want to Know if Microsoft will Block Rivals After Activision Blizzard Acquisition

Ule Lopez
Microsoft Activision Blizzard

The Activision Blizzard acquisition by Microsoft is one that has caught many eyes on both the gaming industry and community. The deal, if approved, would see Microsoft owning the Call of Duty IP as well as other IPs in the Activision Blizzard repertoire. The deal is currently going through heavy scrutiny by several organizations. One of which is the European Commission.

As of now, Microsoft will have to wait until November 8 to hear more about whether the European Commission will permit the deal to go into its next phase. The acquisition is scrutinized by global regulators amid antitrust concerns during a time of increasing consolidation in the gaming industry, after all, so every bit of scrutiny is justified.

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Now, several antitrust regulators from the EU are asking game developers whether Microsoft will be incentivized to block access to Call of Duty from rivals. According to the document that Reuters first spotted, these regulators also want to know if Activision's trove of user data would give Microsoft a competitive advantage in developing, publishing, and distributing computer and console games.

The regulators also want to know if there would be sufficient alternative suppliers in the market following the deal and also in the event Microsoft decides to make Activision's games exclusively available on its Xbox, Xbox Game Pass and its cloud game streaming services. Another one of the questions asked if rivals such as NVIDIA GeForce NOW, PlayStation, Google Stadia, Amazon Luna, and Facebook Gaming would be considered attractive following the deal's closure. All of these questions have to be answered by October 10, 2022.

Not too long ago, Microsoft even published a new website that outlines the benefits of the Activision-Blizzard purchase. The company essentially reached out to the consumers to outline benefits for players, game creators, and the gaming industry. Of course, the more accurate term would be that Microsoft is trying to appeal to the Commission and the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which is also scrutinizing the controversial deal.

We'll continue to update as more updates on this story are released.

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