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Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard is ‘thoroughly’ scrutinized in Europe

The European Commission has opened an “in-depth investigation” into Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

In a statement released yesterday (November 8), the Commission pointed out that the acquisition by Microsoft could “significantly reduce competition in the markets for the distribution of console and PC video games, including subscription services for multiple games and/or streaming services for cloud games. , and for PC operating systems. »

“The Commission is particularly concerned that by acquiring Activision Blizzard, Microsoft will block access to console and PC video games from Activision Blizzard, especially high-profile and popular games (so-called ‘AAA’ games) such as Call of Duty“, continues the press release.

The commission added that Microsoft “may have the ability, as well as the potential financial incentive” to prevent Activision Blizzard’s games from being sold on other consoles, and has “concerns” that Microsoft’s library could “deter” consumers from purchasing – Windows PCs. .

‘Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2’. CREDIT: Infinity Ward.

He also expressed concern that if Microsoft made Activision Blizzard’s games exclusive to its Game Pass and streaming services, it could lead to “higher prices, lower quality and less innovation for game distributors.” on the console, which in turn could be passed on to consumers.”

The investigation has until 23 March 2023 to decide. However, this is not the only investigation the acquisition is facing – the UK Competition and Markets Authority is also conducting a further investigation into the purchase.

In September, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella acknowledged that “any acquisition of this size will be subject to intense scrutiny” but said the company was “very, very confident” it would be approved.

Meanwhile, Xbox boss Phil Spencer recently said that Microsoft plans to release Call of Duty on Sony’s consoles “as long as there’s a PlayStation to ship,” and shared that he would “love” to see the series available on the Nintendo Switch.

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