Europe has launched an investigation into Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard

The European Commission has concerns about the takeover of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft. She decided to open a thorough investigation.

The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation into the acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft. There would be many risks for European consumers, particularly on the subject of competition in the distribution of video games on consoles and PCs and operating systems.

The European Commission has concerns over the takeover of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft

The mergers and acquisitions watchdog fears that Microsoft will one day lock down access to some hugely popular games, like call of duty. If Phil Spencer recently confirmed that these games will continue to be released on PlayStation, the Redmond firm could change its mind overnight. The Commission is also concerned about the risks for the deployment of new technologies, in particular cloud gaming.

The preliminary investigation indicated that the American giant could have the ability, and the inclination, to oust competing console video game distributors, in particular by preventing them from distributing Activision Blizzard’s console games on consoles or more. “simply” by making their access and/or use more complex.

For subscription and/or game streaming services from the cloud, Microsoft could also lock access to its own games for PC and consoles, which could undermine the development of these still very young services. And this would obviously be to the detriment of competing game distributors who offer similar services.

She decided to open an in-depth investigation

As is often the case, if such a situation were to occur, competition, by decreasing, could lead to an increase in the prices of video games and services and a decrease in innovation. This acquisition could also have an impact on the operating systems market. Indeed, Microsoft could decide to limit the streaming game of Activision Blizzard titles to Windows machines only. The attractiveness of other operating systems would suffer.

The European Commission now has 90 working days to take a final decision. See you on March 23, 2023.

For Margrethe Vestager, executive vice president in charge of competition policy, “we must ensure that this transaction does not force out of the market the distributors of video games for consoles and future PCs, nor competing suppliers of operating systems. for pc. The goal is to ensure that the gaming ecosystem retains its tremendous vitality, for the benefit of users, in a rapidly changing industry. The in-depth investigation will allow us to assess how the deal affects the game’s marketing chain.”

It is not only in Europe that this takeover is causing people to cringe. Microsoft itself now seems to think that this agreement will not succeed. To be continued !

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