UK regulator sees competition concerns in Microsoft’s purchase of Activision Blizzard
The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) considers that Microsoft’s purchase of Activision Blizzard poses problems from the point of view of competition, as reported on Thursday in a statement. .
This follows from the conclusions of the first phase of the investigation. Both companies have a period of five days to propose solutions from the point of view of competition. In the event that the CMA does not consider them sufficient, it will open an in-depth investigation of this corporate operation.
Microsoft announced last January that it was buying Activision Blizzard for 68.7 billion dollars (68.582 million euros). The firm owns the popular video game sagas ‘Call of Duty’, ‘Warcraft’, ‘Diablo’, ‘Overwatch’ or ‘Candy Crush’.
“Following our early phase investigation, we are concerned that Microsoft will use its control over popular games like ‘Call of Duty’ or ‘World of Warcraft’ after the merger to harm rivals, including current and future rivals in subscription services. gaming and cloud gaming,” said CMA Senior Director of Mergers Sorcha O’Carroll.
In its analysis, the CMA has explained that Microsoft is one of the only three companies that have led the video game console market in the last 20 years, along with Sony and Nintendo. Regulators fear this purchase will harm rivals by preventing their access to Activision Blizzard games or offering worse terms.
On the other hand, the CMA also considers the integration of Activision within the Microsoft ecosystem to be problematic. The technology company has a leading console (Xbox), a leading cloud platform (Azure) and the most widely used computer operating system (Windows). The Authority suspects that Microsoft could leverage Activision’s game catalog along with its ecosystem to harm competition in the “nascent market” for cloud gaming services.