It looks like Microsoft’s assurances to regulators didn’t work out in the end.
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) recently announced that it would move Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard into its second phase for full investigation.
Microsoft previously wanted to avoid this development via the blog post it previously published in early September, which assured regulators that its acquisition of Activision Blizzard would benefit everyone.
Reference details from the UK Competition and Markets Authority
The CMA mentioned in its announcement that it was referring to Microsoft’s upcoming acquisition of Activision Blizzard for a “thorough investigation” (or Phase 2, as the CMA calls it); he believes the deal could negatively affect the UK market through “a substantial lessening of competition”.
The move follows the CMA’s intention to investigate the acquisition deal on Sept. 1, which gave Blizzard the opportunity to offer “acceptable undertakings” to address the regulator’s concerns about the acquisition.
The CMA also gave Microsoft until September 8 to do so, but the company refused, leading the regulator to return the issue to its second phase, according to Engadget.
As a result, Microsoft can expect a significant delay in the merger deal it struck with Activision Blizzard, with the CMA possibly requiring more compromises from Microsoft in order for the merger to go through.
Brad Smith, president of Microsoft, said the company is ready to work with the AMC to move forward with the merger and to address its concerns about it. He also reiterated Microsoft’s stance in his previous blog post, saying he wants people to have “more access to games, not less.”
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You may recall that Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer posted a blog post saying he was committed to making the same version of Call of Duty available on PlayStation the same day it launches elsewhere.
He also showed how beneficial his acquisition of Activision Blizzard is for the gaming industry, citing his acquisition of Mojang Studios and his Minecraft game, which continues to be available on multiple platforms.
“We believe that a thorough review will show that the combination of Microsoft and Activision Blizzard will benefit [gaming] industry and gamers,” Spencer said in the blog. “To all gamers and game developers, you remain at the center of everything we do, and we will continue to listen to your feedback and do everything we can to feed this. industry we all love.”
Sony’s reaction to CMA’s decision
Sony mentioned in an emailed statement to GamesIndustry.biz that it welcomes the CMA’s decision to further investigate Microsoft’s acquisition of Microsoft.
According to the popular tech giant, the acquisition deal would have “major negative implications” for gamers and the future of the gaming industry.
“We want to ensure PlayStation players that they continue to enjoy the highest quality gaming experience, and we appreciate the CMA’s focus on player protection,” Sony added.
Sony previously called Microsoft’s offer to let Call of Duty remain on the PlayStation for three years after Activision’s current deal with itself ended as “inadequate”.
The company said the deal did not take into account the period’s impact on gamers using PlayStation consoles.
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