The European Commission is said to have started the first round of questions with game companies about the deal. With an amount of about seventy billion dollars, it is one of the largest acquisitions in gamesland.
According to Reuters, the European Commission is concerned about possible monopoly in the deal and has asked other game developers whether Microsoft might block them from accessing Activision Blizzard’s game catalogue. It would also have asked them whether the acquisition would give Microsoft an unfair advantage in developing and distributing video games and consoles with the data it gets through the deal.
The games market is in a wave of consolidation, and Microsoft now owns a series of game makers. For example, it also bought game developer Bethesda in 2020. As a result, Activision Blizzard would take over one of the largest independent game developers. The company makes popular games such as ‘Call of Duty’, ‘Overwatch’ and ‘Candy Crush’.
However, the tech giant is also releasing its own console, the Xbox, and has game subscriptions for that console and its Windows PCs. Therefore, the question from regulators is whether Microsoft could make it difficult for competitors such as Sony (which releases the PlayStation console) to get games from its game makers on their hardware and streaming subscriptions. The same concern was also previously expressed by the British regulator, which has launched an investigation into the deal.
Microsoft will, therefore, still encounter a few hurdles before the deal is complete. First, a major takeover like this has to be approved by quite a few countries. Two of those regulators have since given the green light: Saudi Arabia and Brazil. The EU will decide by November 8 whether to approve or launch a more thorough investigation.