Microsoft facing deeper EU and UK investigation over Activision deal

Microsoft facing deeper EU and UK investigation over Activision deal

It sure looks like Microsoft could be facing increased scrutiny over its proposed purchase of Activision Blizzard.

That's according to the Financial Times, which reports that the tech giant did not provide the extra evidence asked of it by the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), meaning that it is now likely looking down the barrel of a deeper investigation into the deal. FT sources say that Microsoft didn't think there was anything it could offer that the CMA would have accepted.

As a result, the second phase of the organisation's investigation is set to begin shortly, as previously reported.

But Microsoft isn't just facing extra scrutiny in the UK. It seems that the European Union is likely to launch an "extensive investigation" into the deal.

Perhaps the biggest talking point about the acquisition when it comes to competition is Sony's concern that in buying Activision Blizzard, the company's blockbuster Call of Duty series of shooters will become exclusive to Xbox platforms. Microsoft games boss Phil Spencer has made commitments that the franchise will be coming to PlayStation, too, but Sony Interactive Entertainment chief Jim Ryan says this is not enough.

"By giving Microsoft control of Activision games like Call of Duty, this deal would have major negative implications for gamers and the future of the gaming industry," a statement from PlayStation said in the wake of the CMA's second phase investigation being announced.

"We want to guarantee PlayStation gamers continue to have the highest quality gaming experience, and we appreciate the CMA’s focus on protecting gamers."

Responding to Sony's statement, a Microsoft spokesperson added: "It makes zero business sense for Microsoft to remove Call of Duty from PlayStation given its market-leading console position."

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.