While there continues to more uncertainty in Microsoft’s attempted acquisition of Activision Blizzard by regulatory bodies, the European Union (EU) have launched an in-depth probe into the deal.
The European Commission announced they had opened “phase II” on their investigation on the matter. The concerns for this merger, which is why it has garnered much scrutiny, is over the subject of competition concerns.
“The Commission is concerned that the proposed acquisition may reduce competition in the markets for the distribution of console and personal computers (‘PCs’) video games and for PC operating systems,” the regulatory body said.
They now have 90 working days, which is by March 23, 2023, to announce their final ruling. According to an early leaked result of their initial investigation, they found the deal could significantly reduce competition.
The attempted purchase by Microsoft has been a topic of major debate among regulatory bodies. Saudi Aribia was the first country to approve of this, followed by Brazil months later. However, other places like the UK have been more critical of the merger.
These concerns stem from the worries of competition, which Sony, a competitor to Microsoft in the console space, has brought up in regards to the popular franchise Call of Duty. That said, later on President Phil Spencer has stated the game series would stay on PlayStation as long as it exists.
This still doesn’t seem to be good enough for the EU on its on. So it will remain to be seen what their response to the potential acquisition will be, whenever they make their final decision.