UK watchdog recommends Xbox Activision deal for ‘deep review’ amid competition concerns

UK watchdog recommends Xbox Activision deal for 'deep review' amid competition concerns
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An inquiry by the UK competition regulator Microsoftis proposed to be purchased Activision Blizzard may be expanded due to competition concerns.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) confirmed this last month It has launched an investigation into the $68.7 billion deal-the gaming industry’s biggest ever – to determine if it’s fair.

After gathering input from third parties interested in the proposed deal, the CMA said on Thursday it had a number of outstanding issues to address.

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“Following our Phase 1 investigation, we are concerned that Microsoft may be exercising its control over popular games such as Call of Duty and others. World of Warcraft the merger will harm competitors, including past and future competitors in multi-play subscription services and cloud gaming,” said Sorcha O’Carroll, CMA’s chief mergers officer.

“If our existing concerns are not resolved, we plan to explore this deal in a Phase 2 review to reach a decision in the best interests of UK players and businesses.”

The CMA said Microsoft and Activision Blizzard now have until September 8 to submit proposals addressing their concerns, and if no suitable proposals are received, the contract will be referred for further investigation.

Stage 2 investigations will see the CMA appoint an independent panel to scrutinize the deals in more detail and assess whether they will not result in a significant lessening of competition.

In its Phase 1 summary of its investigation, the CMA said, “If Microsoft acquires Activision Blizzard, it is concerned that it could harm its competitors, including new and future entrants, by denying them access to Activision Blizzard games, or worse, by providing them with access to Activision Blizzard games. conditions”.

It added: “The CMA also received evidence about the potential impact of Activision Blizzard’s merger with Microsoft’s wider ecosystem. Microsoft already has the leading game console (Xbox), leading cloud platform (Azure) and leading PRAGUE operating system (Windows OS), all of which could be critical to its cloud gaming success.

“The CMA is concerned that Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard games, combined with Microsoft’s strength in console, cloud and PC operating systems, could harm competition in the emerging market for cloud gaming services.”

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In response to the CMA’s decision, Microsoft President and Vice Chairman Brad Smith said: “We look forward to working with the CMA on the next steps and addressing any of its concerns. SonyAs an industry leader, he said he was worried about Call of Duty, but we were determined to launch the same game on both Xbox and on the same day. Game station. We want people to have more access to games, not less.”

The Xbox boss in an interview with Bloomberg published last week Phil Spencer expresses confidence in the progress made by Microsoft Activision on its planned acquisition of Blizzard – although it admitted it was in uncharted territory given the scale of the deal.

It is a suggested purchase scrutinized by many regulators amid concerns about potential antitrust issues amid growing consolidation in the gaming industry.

Spencer said Bloomberg: “I feel good about the progress we’ve made, but I get into the supportive process of people who aren’t that close to the games industry and I’m like, ‘what’s our goal? What does it mean? If you play it for five years, does that narrow the market? Is this market growing?’

“I’ve never done a $70 billion deal, so I don’t know what my confidence means,” he said. “I will say that the discussions we’re having are looking positive.”

Last week, Saudi Arabia was claimed to be the first regulatory body Confirms Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

Activision Blizzard CEO in a message to employees on Thursday Bobby Kotick said the company would “continue to cooperate fully” with regulators in the UK and that approvals are required everywhere.

“As our industry continues to see numerous companies aggressively invest in gaming, including many of the world’s largest technology and media companies, government regulators are taking appropriate and deliberate steps to better understand our industry and the growing competition from around the world.

“Starting in September, I will be taking the initiative to town halls to inform everyone about our progress towards our future as part of one of the most admired companies in the world.”