Brussels announced Tuesday to open an in-depth investigation into the proposed takeover of the American video game publisher Activision Blizzard by Microsoft, judging that this operation at 69 billion dollars could “significantly reduce» competition in this market.
The European Commission expressed particular concern that Microsoft could “lock access to Activision Blizzard video games for consoles and PC“including the famous”call of duty» and that he is tempted to set up «strategies for foreclosing competing distributors of video games for consoles“.
“A decline in quality and a reduction in innovation”
The EU executive, which oversees competition in the EU, believes that such strategies could lead to “higher prices, lower quality and reduced innovation“. The Commission also fears a reduction in competition in the market for PC operating systems. She believes users might be discouraged from buying PCs that don’t run Windows, Microsoft’s system made more attractive by access to Activision Blizzard games.
The Commission announced that it would “carry out a thorough investigation of the effects of the operation, in order to determine whether his initial fears are confirmed“. It now has a period of 90 days, until March 23, 2023 to make a decision. The opening of an in-depth investigation does not prejudge the outcome of the procedure.
In a video game sector in full consolidation, Microsoft, itself a distributor of games on its Xbox console, announced in January the acquisition of Activision Blizzard which would propel it to third place worldwide in this industry, behind the Chinese Tencent and the Japanese Sony, maker of the PlayStation.