Microsoft's Activision Blizzard acquisition faces closer examination from the EU

Daniel Sims

Posts: 757   +29
Staff
Why it matters: Microsoft's $69 billion bid to acquire the publisher behind Call of Duty and Overwatch is already facing extra scrutiny in the United Kingdom. Now it appears the European Union will bring its investigation into the deal to a new phase.

Sources told Reuters and Politico this week that Microsoft opted not to provide any concessions to European Commission regulators regarding its plans to acquire Activision Blizzard. As a result, the EU's examination of the bid will enter phase 2 by next week, echoing the deeper scrutiny UK regulators are placing on the acquisition.

A Microsoft spokesperson said the company would keep working with the Commission to address any concerns. Although Microsoft submitted no official remedies to UK or EU authorities, it recently said it would continue releasing Call of Duty games on rival PlayStation consoles indefinitely to assuage Sony's primary reason for opposing the deal.

Sony isn't just worried about Microsoft potentially taking the massive shooter franchise away from PlayStation. It also thinks Microsoft placing Call of Duty on Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Cloud Gaming would make the company too dominant in the subscription and cloud gaming sectors. However, Microsoft's reply to the UK's examination suggested it would honor a prior deal between Sony and Activision Blizzard that would keep Call of Duty off of its subscription services for years even if Microsoft bought Activision.

Brazilian regulators approved the deal unconditionally after their examination hosted public arguments between Sony and Microsoft. The Brazilian government doubted Call of Duty was essential to PlayStation's survival and said its job wasn't to protect individual competitors.

Despite much of the attention surrounding the acquisition centering on Call of Duty, Microsoft has admitted it mainly wants Activision Blizzard for PC and mobile gaming. A report earlier this year shows that a significant portion of Activision Blizzard's money came from King — the maker of Candy Crush and Farm Heroes.

Another regulator Microsoft might have trouble with is the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Reports indicate the FTC's investigation is still in the early stages, and any decision won't arrive until around late November. Saudia Arabia was the first country to accept the buyout, but Microsoft will also need approval from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and South Korea.

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brucek

Posts: 1,349   +2,025
Antitrust law is supposed to be for the benefit of, and evaluated only through, consumer interest.

I do not see how it is in consumer's interest to prohibit a popular game from appearing on a subscription service. If they wanted to require that Microsoft also offer it to a Sony service for use under the same terms, that would make more sense. At that point Sony's decision to offer a compelling Sony game pass would be on them.
 

RudyBob

Posts: 893   +914
I can see the boys and girls at the EU daily sanction table looking at their charts and graphs, feeling their chins going hmmmmmmm Who we gonna get to pay us today?
 

Kam7r

Posts: 169   +339
Antitrust law is supposed to be for the benefit of, and evaluated only through, consumer interest.

I do not see how it is in consumer's interest to prohibit a popular game from appearing on a subscription service. If they wanted to require that Microsoft also offer it to a Sony service for use under the same terms, that would make more sense. At that point Sony's decision to offer a compelling Sony game pass would be on them.
quasi-monopoly is bad very bad for you, me , every consumers
 

DSirius

Posts: 380   +799
TechSpot Elite
This is a smoke issue. Service gaming market is already a duopoly, Microsoft and Sony, or trio if we count and Nintendo.
So it is hilarious to watch how the 2 biggest "duopolists" quarrel for how much of the entire gaming market they want to portion between and only for themselves. :)
 

Kirby1

Posts: 188   +325
I was looking forward to finally being able to play the single player without having to buy the full games.. This anti trust thing is BS. If they cant put COD on game pass, this whole thing feels pointless. This anti consumer **** is going way too far.
 

kira setsu

Posts: 447   +434
If you're concerned about retail monopolies then you should be pushing for Wal-Mart and Amazon to be broken up.
shoot, amazon works so well I've given up my hate against it, would I like to go to stores and spend my money in person? yes, but that time has apparently passed.

it also seems like no other stores want to actually keep anything on their shelves, plus amazon can legit ship things to your crib in less than 12hrs now, its ridiculous.

is amazon bad, probably so, but wtf isn't these days?
 

RudyBob

Posts: 893   +914
shoot, amazon works so well I've given up my hate against it, would I like to go to stores and spend my money in person? yes, but that time has apparently passed.

it also seems like no other stores want to actually keep anything on their shelves, plus amazon can legit ship things to your crib in less than 12hrs now, its ridiculous.

is amazon bad, probably so, but wtf isn't these days?
Where would I get my solar Christmas lights if not for Amazon? Not Menards