The European Commission wants to hear what rivals think about Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Through a large questionnaire, antitrust regulators plan to find out how this deal could affect the games market.
Earlier this month, the European Commission sent a 91-page document to game publishers, developers, distributors, console providers, and providers of PC operating systems earlier this month, Reuters reported on December 20.
The antitrust watchdog asked:
- Will Microsoft be able to degrade the quality of Activision Blizzard games on rival consoles or provide updates to these titles only on Xbox;
- Will it raise prices for Activision games and shipping them to competing consoles at a later date;
- Will Microsoft make some of Activision’s products exclusive to the Xbox ecosystem;
- Is Call of Duty the most important console franchise, and are there any alternatives to it;
- How could the addition of Activision Blizzard games to Game Pass or Xbox Cloud Gaming affect competition in these areas;
- Will Microsoft have the technical ability to make Activision Blizzard titles only compatible with Windows operating systems.
The Commission, which is currently conducting an in-depth investigation into Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, gave a deadline of shortly before Christmas for responses. The probe is expected to be completed by March 23, 2023.
Microsoft once again noted that it will continue to ship Call of Duty on all platforms because it wants players to “have more access to games, not less.”
The company is subject to regulatory scrutiny in other jurisdictions as well. The US Federal Trade Commission recently filed an antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft to block the $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard. The UK Competition and Markets Authority also has serious concerns about the deal, saying that it could lessen competition.