- The EU is warning Microsoft its acquisition of Activision Blizzard could face an antitrust probe
- Regulators around the world are concerned Microsoft could make popular Activision games Xbox only
- Microsoft is currently engaged with regulators around the world, deal has been approved in some countries
Microsoft has been warned by EU regulators that it faces an Antitrust warning over its $69 billion acquisition of Activision-Blizzard. The EU is preparing a statement of objections to Microsoft, detailing its opposing arguments to the deal, Reuters reports.
It was expected that Microsoft would make concessions to the EU to avoid this process and shorten the time that they could close the deal.
For example, a concession that Microsoft has recently made was making future Call of Duty titles available on Nintendo hardware in a bid to show regulators they do not plan to pull major ATVI titles from Sony.
Microsoft responded to the warning, telling Reuters, “We’re continuing to work with the European Commission to address any marketplace concerns. Our goal is to bring more games to more people, and this deal will further that goal.”
While Microsoft is warned of an antitrust probe, the EU is expected to make a final decision on the deal on April 11th, 2023.
A major concern from regulators was the state of major Activision titles, such as Call of Duty, and if they would be available on other platforms post-acquisition. Some regulators were concerned that Microsoft could pull the Call of Duty series from PlayStation and make it an Xbox exclusive.
Microsoft has made similar moves in the past, such as making Starfield an Xbox exclusive after a long history of Bethesda games being multi-platform. Sony themselves say the deal is unfair and would give Microsoft a massive advantage over them. These concerns of accused anti-competitiveness are what is drawing scrutiny from regulators.
So far, the deal has been approved in some countries, such as Serbia, Saudia Arabia, Chile, and Brazil. Microsoft faces regulatory hurdles in the US, where the FTC is suing to block the deal, and in the UK, where regulatory bodies continue to investigate the acquisition.
Microsoft has originally expected to close the deal sometime in June 2023, but that date seems unlikely as regulators investigate the deal.
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