Microsoft’s $69bn acquisition of Activision Blizzard is facing plenty of scrutiny from rival companies and regulators. Following the UK’s decision to investigate the deal, the European Commission too will put it under the spotlight.
It is worth noting this is currently in the realm of standard protocol. Specifically, it is only last Friday that Microsoft made its official proposal to the EC. That means the regulator will now look into the deal and decide whether to approve it or to initiate a wider investigation.
A “Phase 2” investigation would happen if the European Commission has concerns or questions to ask Microsoft. If this happens, the EC will have 90 working days to make a new decision on whether to approve the deal.
By purchasing Activision Blizzard, Call of Duty, Diablo, Warcraft, Candy Crush, Watchdogs and other triple-A franchises will be under Microsoft’s control.
Critics of the acquisition suggest Microsoft will eventually use these games to boost its Xbox Game Pass service. Titles from Activision Blizzard will almost certainly come to Game Pass, although Microsoft insists it will not make these games exclusive.
Sony has been a vocal leader in the backlash against the deal. One of Sony’s main concerns is that Microsoft buying Activision Blizzard will create a gaming monopoly. The PlayStation company is not alone, it is a worry shared by many.
Microsoft continues to argue it sees more value in these major franchises being available across platforms. Just recently, Microsoft gaming head, Phil Spencer, spoke about how the company is being transparent with regulators.
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