Microsoft’s $69 billion takeover of Activision Blizzard has stirred up plenty of pushback from regulatory bodies around the world. After facing questions in the UK and a lawsuit from the FTC in the US, the deal is now likely to receive an antitrust warning in the EU. At the same time, Google and Nvidia are weighing in on the acquisition and raising their own concerns.
Aside from regulatory oversight, Sony has been the sole major tech company to question Microsoft’s purchase of Activision Blizzard. However, Bloomberg now reports Google and Nvidia have also told the FTC they believe Microsoft will gain an unfair advantage by buying the video game publisher.
It seems Nvidia is not against the deal but does want to ensure that Call of Duty remains available across platforms. The popular first-person shooter franchise has been at the center of much of the debate surrounding the acquisition.
While Microsoft would also gain control of major brands such as Warcraft and Candy Crush, Call of Duty is the main target. Sony has complained Call of Duty is irreplaceable on PlayStation. The company believes Microsoft will eventually make the franchise exclusive to Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Cloud Gaming.
Microsoft has always maintained that is not the intention. The company argues it is more valuable and profitable to maintain Call of Duty as a cross-platform franchise. To emphasize this, the company has agreed on a license deal with Nintendo to keep Call of Duty on Nintendo consoles for 10 years. A similar offer is available to Sony and this concession makes the ongoing FTC lawsuit a hard one for the regulator to win.
However, that is not stopping regulators in other regions from also seeking to thwart the deal. In the EU, Reuters reports the European Commission will likely warn Microsoft over the merger with Activision Blizzard. The warning will include a list of concerns the regulator has regarding the buyout. The EC has previously set a deadline of April 11, 2023 to reach a decision on whether to approve the acquisition.
Many reports suggest the FTC could also drop its case if the EU approves the sale of Activision Blizzard.
“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,” says Microsoft. The company is likely to make several concessions to smooth concerns in the EU and with the CMA in the United Kingdom.
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