The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority revealed today that its investigation into Microsoft’s proposed purchase of Call of Duty maker Activision needs more time in a “phase two” study. The Initial findings have raised concerns About how “Microsoft can use its control over popular games like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft post-merger to harm rivals including recent and future rivals in multi-game subscription services and cloud gaming”.
If the authority’s concerns are not addressed, it will move on to the aforementioned “stage two investigation” where it will “reach a decision that serves the interests of UK gamers and businesses”. Concerns have been pointed out about how Microsoft could deny access to Activision games to existing and new companies in the gaming industry, or provide “access on very poor terms”.
In the short term, CMA believes that Sony will be the most affected by the purchase due to sharing a lot of similar content and target market. It also notes how Sony has a larger market share than Microsoft in the UK, which “could have a significant impact on Sony’s revenue and user base. This impact is particularly significant at the launch of next-generation consoles.” is likely to be felt, where gamers make fresh decisions about which console to buy. The CMA believes that the merger will, therefore, significantly harm Microsoft’s closest rival, to the detriment of overall competition in console gaming. and can weaken.”
Microsoft has has published the answer on its official website Where it reiterates its commitment to ensure future Call of Duty games launch on PlayStation platforms on the same day as they do elsewhere. “We’ve heard that this deal could take franchises like Call of Duty away from the places where people currently play them. So, as we’ve said before, we’re looking forward to the same version of Call of Duty on PlayStation. Committed to making available. Same day game launches elsewhere.”
The firm compares the acquisition to its previous purchase of Minecraft developer Mojang. The PlayStation versions of the game have been supported with updates since purchase, and newer games such as Minecraft Dungeons have received PS4 editions. The upcoming strategy title Minecraft Legends is also launching for PS5, PS4.
Elsewhere in the statement, Phil Spencer confirms that Call of Duty, Diablo, and Overwatch will all be moving to Game Pass as long as the $69 billion deal goes through. “We will continue to engage with regulators in a spirit of transparency and openness as they review this acquisition. We respect and welcome the tough questions being asked.”
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