The EU probes the rivals of Microsoft and Activision: the takeover always more threatened?

Alexander Schmid

December 21, 2022 at 8:30 a.m.


Activision Blizzard Microsoft © © Microsoft

© Microsoft

The European Commission is collecting evidence from the video game industry to help it make a decision: accept or refuse Microsoft’s takeover of Activision-Blizzard-King.

At the beginning of November, the European Union announced the opening of an in-depth investigation into the takeover of Activision-Blizzard by Microsoft, fearing that such a transaction would give the American group too dominant a position on the market. As part of this investigation, the EU is seeking the views of different market players.

The fear of a harmful domination of Microsoft

To do this, in December the European Commission sent a 91-page long questionnaire to video game developers and publishers, but also to console manufacturers and PC operating system suppliers.

Through this document, the Commission seeks to know whether Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision-Blizzard could ultimately lead to a degradation of the experience for consumers. ” Please specify the exclusivity strategy(ies) that you believe Microsoft would be able to deploy with regard to Activision-Blizzard console games asks the questionnaire, for example.

The EU generally seeks the opinion of the video game industry on the possibility that Microsoft willfully undermine the interoperability of Activision-Blizzard games on competing consoles, reserve content, functionalities or updates to the Xbox ecosystem, increases the price of distribution on other platforms, or resorts to permanent or temporary exclusivity strategies.

call of duty is it so important?

Sony having been particularly worried about the future of the license call of duty, the Commission document also seeks feedback on this aspect. She wants to know which video game franchise is considered the most important for a console game distributor, and if there are any alternatives to call of duty.

The questionnaire also returns to the subject of Cloud gaming, and asks about the impact on competition of the potential availability of Activision-Blizzard titles on a streaming service via the Cloud, the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, not to name it. . PC operating system publishers were asked to clarify whether Microsoft had the technical ability to prevent Activision-Blizzard games from being compatible with other OSes than Windows.

Respondents have approximately until Christmas to return the completed questionnaire, which should be an important element in the Commission’s final decision.

Source : Reuters

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