EU regulators quiz Microsoft competitors over Activision Blizzard acquisition
That’s according to a leaked document seen by Reuters, in which the EU is asking developers if Microsoft would be incentivised to block rivals’ access to Activision Blizzard’s biggest titles – most notably Call of Duty, as well as the recently-released Overwatch 2.
The questionnaire, which features around 100 questions, also asks developers, publishers and and distributors if the deal would impact their bargaining power with regards to selling console and PC games on the Xbox platform, or via Game Pass.
Additionally, the leaked document also asks if, given the enormous popularity of their games, Activision Blizzard’s user data would give Microsoft a competitive advantage in the industry. The EU also wants to know if there would be sufficient alternative suppliers in the market following the acquisition, and following the eventuality that Microsoft decides to make Activision Blizzard’s games exclusive to their platform.
Microsoft’s rivals were also asked if such exclusivity decisions would give Microsoft’s Windows operating system an edge over its competitors, and if the addition of Activision Blizzard to its various services would give it an advantage in the games industry.
The antitrust regulators are set to make a preliminary decision regarding the merger by November 8, when they will decide either to clear the transaction or to enter a second, more strenuous, investigation phase – Something that the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) decided to do in September, citing a number of antitrust concerns.
In a statement, the CMA said that it is “concerned that if Microsoft buys Activision Blizzard it could harm rivals, including recent and future entrants into gaming, by refusing them access to Activision Blizzard games or providing access on much worse terms.”
Despite this scrutiny, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has expressed confidence that the deal will ultimately be approved.
In other gaming news, Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 has shared an official launch trailer ahead of its release later this month.
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