For almost a year, Microsoft has been trying by all means to validate its plan to take over the American video game publisher Activision Blizzard. To achieve this, the Silicon Valley giant will probably have to make some concessions to the European Union (EU), which has been wondering for several weeks about the impact that this acquisition would have on its competitors.
The European Commission has been investigating this takeover project for several weeks
In January 2022, Microsoft officially announced its plan to acquire the American video game giant, Activision Blizzard, known for its World of Warcraft and Call of Duty licenses, for the sum of 68 billion dollars. Ten months later, this acquisition is on hold. Several regulatory authorities around the world, including the European Commission, have decided to investigate this takeover.
For the European authority, this takeover could undermine competition in the video game market, especially against Microsoft’s number one rival, Sony. The European Commission had initiated a preliminary investigation a few months ago and would have concluded that Microsoft was able to buy Activision Blizzard in order to oust its competitors.
While it has given itself until the end of January 2023 to draw up a list of the various problems related to this takeover project and that a final opinion is expected in March 2023, the American company could well anticipate with a few concessions to convince the European Union.
Microsoft will approach its main competitor, Sony
Satya Nadella’s company would be ready to comply with special provisions in order to avoid any problem and thus have this takeover validated. According to information from ReutersMicrosoft will try to get closer to Sony in order to reach a ten-year agreement between the two firms and thus limit anti-competitive practices.
” Sony, as a leader in the industry, says it is concerned about the availability of Call of Duty. But we said we were determined to make the game available the same day on Xbox and PlayStation. We want people to have more access to games, not less “Says a Microsoft spokesperson. Activision Blizzard’s flagship game, Call of Duty, would be available on Sony’s PlayStation console from day one for the next ten years.
Even if this strategy convinces the EU, Microsoft will still have to face the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) of the United States as well as the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) of the United Kingdom. Both regulators have also opened investigations into the proposed takeover. They seem to be equally skeptical of European regulators on the matter.