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Microsoft and Activision Blizzard Deal Under Scrutiny As European Commission Launches In-Depth Investigation

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The European Commission announced that they have opened an in-depth investigation to evaluate Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard on November 8, 2022. The EU is concerned that this deal will end up reducing the competition in distribution of console and PC games. Here is everything you need to know.

One of the main concerns for the EU is that Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard will lead to exclusivity of the developer’s title. They are concerned that the AAA games of the developers such as ‘Call of Duty’ will become exclusive to Microsoft’s gaming platforms, Xbox and PC.

According to their investigation, it is believed that Microsoft might have the ability and the incentive to foreclose these titles for other platforms. They have also expressed concerns about multi-game subscription services and/or cloud game streaming services.

In these criteria, the Commission feels that Microsoft may bar access to multi-game subscription services and/or cloud game streaming services of Activision Blizzard. This could be done to prevent competition that offers the same kind of service. Their main issue with this is that it could lead to inflated prices, quality reduction and decreased innovation for other console game distributors.

Lastly, they have also expressed concerns about reduced competition in the market for PC Operating Systems. They feel that foreclosing Activision Blizzard games and services for other non-Windows PC Operating Systems will decrease the ability of competitors to rival Microsoft’s PC Operating System.

The European Commission will now hold an in-depth investigation for 90 days, which will last till March 23, 2023. In this time, they will come to the decision of whether their initial concerns have been confirmed. The investigation will take place under the EU Merger Regulation.

The acquisition of Activision-Blizzard by Microsoft will go down in the books as one of the biggest gaming acquisitions in history. Microsoft will be paying a whopping $69 Billion to acquire the gaming behemoths. This deal has been scrutinized plenty as many feel it will be promoting anti-competitiveness. The main issue that players have with the deal is that they fear Call of Duty will become exclusive to Xbox and PC.

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