Game, set and match: EU regulators question Microsoft – Verdict

Game, set and match: EU regulators question Microsoft – Verdict

Game, set and match: EU regulators question Microsoft – Verdict 0 0 Alan Dickson

It’s a call to duty for Microsoft with new gaming acquisition.
By Chloe Olivia Sladden
Despite recent slumps in the gaming industry, tech companies continue to battle for the top spot in the industry and multi-billion acquisitions are commonplace.
But Microsoft’s takeover of Activision Blizzard, which will firmly cement them as one of the biggest video game development market players ever, is worrying EU regulators.
The technology giant has proposed a whopping $69bn acquisition of Activision, the creator of hit games like Call of Duty, but EU antitrust regulators are yet to give their approval.
An EU document showed antitrust regulators were worried Microsoft would block rivals’ access to the best-selling games from Activision, Reuters reported.
Regulators have been asking gaming developers, distributors and publishers how Microsoft’s deal would affect them.
EU competition enforcers also asked if Activision’s user data would give Microsoft an unfair advantage in the development, publishing and distribution of computer and console games.
A preliminary decision by EU antitrust regulators is due to be made by November 8, deciding whether to allow Microsoft to push through with the proposed multi-million acquisition.
Laura Petrone, thematic analyst at research firm GlobalData, tells Verdict that antitrust scrutiny is mounting in London and Brussels, following Microsoft’s proposed acquisition.
“This is a large and complex deal proposed at a time when Europe is launching the world’s first antitrust legislation to regulate online platforms and Big Tech’s M&A activity is under unprecedented scrutiny,” Petrone says.
“It’s only natural that the deal will be seen as a testing ground for addressing anti-competitive issues in the digital economy.”
It remains unclear if Microsoft would allow its rivals, like Sony and Nintendo, access to Activision games after the acquisition is completed.
Petrone says that regulators will likely ask Microsoft to offer remedies, which don’t isolate other companies from Activision’s games. These may include commitments to keep games on other consoles and services.
After regulators have come to a conclusion on Microsoft and Activision, the European Commission has announced it will be carrying out a four-month-long investigation into the concerns with big tech acquisitions.
The news comes as the gaming industry continues to expand in new ways, with even streaming services wanting to get in on the action, as Netflix announces plans for its own
Even streaming services want to get in on the action, as Netflix recently announced plans for its own gaming studio.
GlobalData is the parent company of Verdict and its sister publications.

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