Microsoft and Activision Deal Potential Concerns Raised by UK Competition and Markets Authority Could Lead to Further Investigation

Microsoft and Activision Deal Potential Concerns Raised by UK Competition and Markets Authority Could Lead to Further Investigation

Richard Walker

With Microsoft announcing plans to acquire Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion back in January, an investigation launched by the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has raised possible concerns surrounding the deal, leading to an “in-depth probe” to “fully assess” the issues that could arise, and “suitable proposals” to address those issues.

“The Competition and Markets Authority is concerned that Microsoft’s anticipated purchase of Activision Blizzard could substantially lessen competition in gaming consoles, multi-game subscription services, and cloud gaming services (game streaming),” the body stated in a press release, adding that the CMA's concerns pertain to possible harm to rivals, “including recent and future entrants into gaming, by refusing them access to Activision Blizzard games or providing access on much worse terms”.

The press release adds: “The CMA has also received evidence about the potential impact of combining Activision Blizzard with Microsoft’s broader ecosystem. Microsoft already has a leading gaming console (Xbox), a leading cloud platform (Azure), and the leading PC operating system (Windows OS), all of which could be important to its success in cloud gaming. The CMA is concerned that Microsoft could leverage Activision Blizzard’s games together with Microsoft’s strength across console, cloud, and PC operating systems to damage competition in the nascent market for cloud gaming services.”

Such concerns from the CMA mean that a Phase 2 investigation could be carried out, giving Microsoft and Activision Blizzard have five working days to submit proposals to address said concerns. Should the proposals fail to be submitted, the deal will be referred for a Phase 2 investigation, in which an independent panel of experts will look into the risks identified during the CMA's Phase 1 results.

“Following our Phase 1 investigation, we are concerned that Microsoft could use its control over popular games like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft post-merger to harm rivals, including recent and future rivals in multi-game subscription services and cloud gaming,” said Sorcha O'Carroll, CMA Senior Director of Mergers. “If our current concerns are not addressed, we plan to explore this deal in an in-depth Phase 2 investigation to reach a decision that works in the interests of UK gamers and businesses".

  • Bloody bureaucracy. Just give the people what they want! Give us CoD on gamepass.
  • @WantlessSoup yeah no one wants that
  • What would the consequences of this investigation be? Can a UK-based institution block the merger of 2 US-based companies? Probably not, right?
    Say the investigation comes to the conclusion, that it is in fact a harmful to the competitive enviroment, what would the Uk government do?
    Would Microsoft have to provide their portfolio, or parts of the portfolio to competing streaming services in the UK?
  • Sony is the only block to this deal and everyone knows it, they released the statements from all the companies they asked about the merger, other gaming companies, apple, google etc and no one has a problem with the merger, it was even ok'd by all activision/blizzard investors. Sony are just having a cry because they are about to lose all their CoD exclusivity bs they have been paying for, and their biggest complaint to the ftc was Microsoft having the game as an exclusive? LOL look at all the exclusives they have paid for, to companies they don't even own, hypocrite bastards.
  • @darth straya especially since Sony is paying third party companies to not do deals on gamepass
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