Microsoft has had a difficult time convincing European regulators to accept its acquisition of Activision Blizzard. In its latest attempt to try and sway the outcome to its favor, Microsoft is reminding everyone that Sony is the leader of the market.
The EU’s European Commission has announced in athat it has opened up an in-depth investigation into Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard. This investigation was activated after the proposed deadline EU regulators set back in September when the deal was first being looked into.
According to the press release, the new inquiry now has 90 working days — until March 23, 2023 — to make a decision.
The Commission claims that it is concerned Microsoft’s acquisition could upset the balance in the market, causing a reduction in competition.
The Commission’s preliminary investigation shows that the transaction may significantly reduce competition on the markets for the distribution of console and PC video games, including multi-game subscription services and/or cloud game streaming services, and for PC operating systems.
The organization specifically highlighted the potential of Microsoft possibly turning some of Activision Blizzard’s most successful games into exclusives.
In particular, the Commission is concerned that, by acquiring Activision Blizzard, Microsoft may foreclose access to Activision Blizzard’s console and PC video games, especially to high-profile and highly successful games (so-called ‘AAA’ games) such as ‘Call of Duty’.
Since the first time it hit a snag with European regulators, Microsoft has attempted to utilize an underdog strategy to delegitimize Sony’s arguments against the deal. In response to today’s investigation announcement, Microsoft attempted to drive that talking point home by admitting that Sony is the market leader.
The Redmond-based organization told Tom Warren of The Verge:
Sony, as the industry leader, says it is worried about Call of Duty, but we’ve said we are committed to making the same game available on the same day on both Xbox and PlayStation,” Microsoft said. “We want people to have more access to games, not less.
Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard still hangs in the balance. In addition to the EU, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and other regulatory bodies around the world are performing their own investigations.