Brussels announced on Tuesday it was opening an in-depth investigation into Microsoft’s proposed takeover of US video game publisher Activision Blizzard, judging that the $69 billion operation could “reduce significantly» competition in this market.
The European Commission expressed particular concern that Microsoft could “unlock access to Activision Blizzard video games for consoles and PC“including the famous”call of duty» and that he is tempted to create «strategies to foreclose competing distributors of console video games“.
“A decline in quality and a decline in innovation”
The EU’s leadership, which oversees competition in the EU, believes that such strategies could lead to “higher prices, lower quality and reduced innovation“. The commission also fears a lessening of competition in the market for PC operating systems. It believes that users may be deterred from buying PCs that do not run Windows, Microsoft’s system made more attractive by access to Activision Blizzard games.
The Commission announced that it would “make a thorough study of the effects of the operation to determine whether his initial fears are confirmed“. It now has a period of 90 days, until March 23, 2023, to make a decision. The initiation of an in-depth investigation does not prejudge the outcome of the procedure.
In a video game sector in full consolidation, Microsoft, itself a distributor of games on its Xbox console, announced in January the purchase of Activision Blizzard, which would take it to third place worldwide in this industry, behind China’s Tencent and Japan’s Sony, manufacturer of PlayStation.