Regulators Worried Microsoft Will Block Access to Activision Games
It was recently revealed through Reuters that ‘EU antitrust regulators’ have expressed concerns that Microsoft may throw a spanner in the works for rivals where Activision Blizzard’s assets are concerned once its acquisition of the firm is complete next year.
In a report (and investigation), dozens of questions were raised and aimed at other publishers, developers, and distributors, with the clear goal of establishing whether they believe that Microsoft will:
a) Block their access to Activision Blizzard’s software (Call of Duty, for example), or;
b) Degrade the ‘quality of interoperability’ of Activision Blizzard’s games on ‘competing consoles’.
Was It Worth All This Drama?
For months, the Activision Blizzard x Microsoft discussion has been dominating gaming news headlines around the world. It’s an intense situation, with Microsoft seeking to make one of the biggest acquisitions in history by acquiring Activision Blizzard for $69 billion.
In the EU, antitrust regulators have been working to examine every inch of the acquisition, and they’re trying to put a case together that suggests the deal is bad for business on a global scale, and that it’s a monopolisation effort from Microsoft that simply isn’t fair or conducive to a strong and balanced economy.
Earlier this month, as reported by Reuters, the European Commission circulated a massive questionnaire that totalled almost one hundred pages, and it was believed that the document was forwarded to gaming companies, hardware and software providers, and distributors. In this questionnaire, many points were addressed that formed the fundamental basis of the EU Commission finding out how shady Microsoft may be post-acquisition:
“Please specify which partial exclusivity strategy or strategies you believe Microsoft would have the ability to deploy with respect to Activision Blizzard’s console games after Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard”
Will Microsoft delay Activision games from launching on competing platforms?
“Which video game franchise is considered the most important for a console game distributor to offer and what other main alternatives are there to Call of Duty?
If Call of Duty was to be made exclusive, is there even anything that can compete?
“What advantages and disadvantages do game developers, publishers, and console game distributors face if a game is distributed exclusively on one console?
If Activision’s game(s) becomes exclusive, how does that impact the industry?
The Never-Ending Debate
Microsoft passed a positive comment regarding the future of Activision’s flagship franchise appearing on other platforms:
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. We want people to have more access to games, not less.
‘A Microsoft Spokesperson’, reported by Reuters
Reportedly, feedback from the super-sized questionnaire was supposed to be published ‘shortly before Christmas’, but as of yet, no information has surfaced regarding the responses from these representatives of the gaming industry.
Elsewhere, Sony has stepped up to claim that ‘2023 will be a very important year‘ for PlayStation 5, suggesting, exclusivity or not, things are on the up for the Japanese tech giant.