towards an in-depth EU investigation

Microsoft missed the deadline. The American giant had until midnight Monday evening to try to reassure the European Commission’s antitrust services about its acquisition of the American company behind the “Call of Duty” or “World of Warcraft” games, Activision Blizzard, for the sum of 69 billion dollars. But Microsoft hasn’t bothered to address their concerns, Politico and Reuters have learned.

Last January, the Redmond firm announced its desire to acquire this giant grouping together many video game development studios, as well as its hope of finalizing the operation by 2023 – which would allow Microsoft to take the third place in the gaming industry in terms of revenue, after the Chinese Tencent and the Japanese Sony.

Microsoft said it continues to work with the Commission on next steps and address any valid industry concerns. “Sony, as an industry leader, says it’s worried about Call of Duty, but we’ve said we’re committed to making an identical game available the same day on Xbox and PlayStation“, the company said in a statement. Sony was particularly concerned that Microsoft, the originator of the Xbox, would make the franchise exclusive to its own console.

Saudi Arabia and Brazil have already said yes

The European Commission is due to finalize its preliminary investigation on November 8, but everything suggests that it should not stop there and that it will open an in-depth investigation – which may explain the lack of commitments from Microsoft at this stage, aware that it will not escape a more formal investigation.

The European regulator is not the only one looking into this merger. In September, the British competition policeman also opened a procedure which should be completed on March 1, 2023, according to its own forecasts. The United States, New Zealand and Japan, among others, are also on the spot. So far, only Saudi Arabia in August and Brazil in October have given the green light without requiring specific corrective measures.

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