The CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) has vocalized concerns about Microsoft’s pending acquisition of Activision Blizzard and the damage it could do to competition in new report.
In the wake of the pending Microsoft buy-out of the Call of Duty and World of Warcraft developers at Activision Blizzard was one of the firsts of the major acquisition spree it seems every big gaming company has engaged in over the past year. But, there are still some i’s to be dotted and t’s to be crossed when it comes to satisfaction in the industry involving the major acquisition. The CMA has vocalized concerns and the harm it could do to competition in the video game industry, citing an issue with the mega-popular shooting franchise becoming Xbox exclusive.
Senior Director of Mergers at the CMA, Sorcha O’Carroll stated “Following our Phase 1 investigation, we are concerned that Microsoft could 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,” with “If our current concerns are not addressed, we plan to explore this deal in an in-depth Phase 2 investigation to reach a decision that works in the interests of UK gamers and businesses.”
With these new issues coming to the surface, Microsoft and Activision Blizzard were given five days to submit proposals satisfying the concerns of the CMA, and it only took one, as Microsoft has issued a lengthy proposal regarding their issues, although it has been voiced on record in the past, with President Brad Smith stating “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,” in a CNBC interview. With no aim to monopolize Call of Duty, the response included an example of good faith from Microsoft on monopoly busting themselves in the past.
In a blog post, Phil Spencer explained “We will continue to enable people to play with each other across platforms and across devices. We know players benefit from this approach because we’ve done it with Minecraft, which continues to be available on multiple platforms and has expanded to even more since Mojang joined Microsoft in 2014.”
This all comes a week after Saudi Arabia has become the first authority to approve the proposed Microsoft acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Despite things coming to a virtual standstill after the Microsoft response, more will surely follow this saga as the Activision Blizzard acquisition trudges forward.