EU opens in-depth investigation into Activision Microsoft deal

EU opens in-depth investigation into Activision Microsoft deal

The European Commission has opened up an in-depth investigation into Microsoft's proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

The organisation says that it is worried that should the deal close, competition in the video games space would be harmed. To be specific, the European Commission is concerned that the market will see a reduction in competition when it comes to the distribution of games, as well as the evergreen worry that Microsoft will make Call of Duty an Xbox exclusive.

"The preliminary investigation suggests that Microsoft may have the ability, as well as a potential economic incentive, to engage in foreclosure strategies vis-à-vis Microsoft's rival distributors of console video games, such as preventing these companies from distributing Activision Blizzard's console video games on consoles or degrading the terms and conditions for their use of or access to these video games," the European Commission wrote.

"When it comes to multi-game subscription services and/or cloud game streaming services in particular, the Commission is concerned that, by acquiring Activision Blizzard, Microsoft may foreclose access, to the detriment of its rival distributors of console and PC video games that offer such services, to its own PC and console video games, which are key for the provision of the nascent services of multi-game subscription and cloud game streaming."

The investigation has to be closed by March 23rd, 2023. 

In a release to investors, Activision Blizzard CEO Robert "Bobby" Kotick addressed the news.

"We will continue to cooperate with the European Commission where, in the countries they represent, we have many employees," he said.

"We have been working closely with Microsoft to actively engage regulators in other key countries to answer their questions and provide them with information to assist with their review."

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.