Image Source: Game Pressure
At an EU competition hearing, Microsoft defended its plans to buy Activision Blizzard, which makes games like Call of Duty and Candy Crush.
Microsoft thinks the $68.7 billion (£56.8 billion) deal will give gamers more choices.
But Sony, a competitor who was also at the hearing, says that the merger would give Microsoft too much power over some of the most popular games in the world.
Sony owns PlayStation, a big competitor to Microsoft’s Xbox.
The EU hearing on Tuesday was called “an important day” by Brad Smith, who is the president of Microsoft.
He also laughed off Sony’s worries that Activision Blizzard games, like Call of Duty, might only be available on Xbox if the merger goes through.
In a statement, Activision Blizzard said regulators would agree that the proposed merger would make the market more competitive, give workers more job opportunities, and make games better for players.
Chip maker Nvidia and search engine Google were also there, but neither the press nor the public could attend.
Nvidia and Microsoft have said they will work together to make Xbox PC games and Activision Blizzard games available through GeForce Now, Nvidia’s platform for streaming games from the cloud.
The tech company needs to show regulators worldwide that the biggest deal in the history of gaming won’t hurt its competitors. Today was the last day Microsoft could make its case in Europe before the commission made its decision.
Sony rejects the deal
Chile, Brazil, and Saudi Arabia are among the countries that have already agreed to do it.
The UK’s competition watchdog said it doesn’t like the deal, but it hasn’t said what its final decision will be yet. However, the European Commission has asked for an investigation to happen.
The UK Competition and Markets Authority said that Call of Duty could be sold by itself.
Microsoft has said that all current Activision Blizzard games will be playable on Nintendo, Sony, and Steam platforms for at least the next ten years. So far, Sony has turned down this offer.
The company has bought out companies like Mojang, which made Minecraft, and Bethesda, which made Fallout. Bethesda’s new game, Starfield, will only be available for Xbox when it comes out. That has already been said.
UK agency CMA is against Activision acquisition by Microsoft
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority has said that it is against Microsoft’s plan to buy the game company, Activision Blizzard.
The CMA thought that it would lead to higher prices, fewer options, and less innovation.
In the $69 billion (£57 billion) deal, Microsoft would buy popular games like Call of Duty and Candy Crush.
Microsoft told the CMA that it would find a way to “address its concerns.”
She also said that 75% of the people who took the CMA’s public survey “agree that the deal is good for competition in UK gaming.”
Activision said that the results were not final and that both sides would have a chance to say something.
“Never got a deal like this before.”
Steffan Powell, the BBC’s gaming correspondent, said, “The decision doesn’t mean that Microsoft can’t buy Activision Blizzard, but it’s not what company leaders would have wanted.”
So far, Microsoft could’ve had a better week.
First, the big news about the AI Chatbot ChatGPT joining Microsoft’s search engine Bing was trumped by Google, which announced the launch of its competitor, Bard, 24 hours before Microsoft’s event.
Now, the UK’s markets authority has come to the preliminary conclusion that the tech giant’s plan to buy one of the world’s biggest game publishers could hurt the gaming industry.
One suggestion from the CMA is that Activision Blizzard could sell off Call of Duty, which is one of its most valuable assets.
This would make the deal less valuable for Microsoft but could make Sony happy. Sony makes the PlayStation console and wants a competitor to buy up only some of the best game developers.
Microsoft says that it won’t make existing games only work on its Xbox console.
Aside from their big-name games, Activision Blizzard also owns Candy Crush, a mobile game that is always at the top of the most-played charts around the world.
The preliminary findings came from a “phase-two” investigation that took five months and was led by an independent panel.
It was found that a small number of important games, like Call of Duty by Activision, pushed competition between consoles.
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As it did when it bought other game studios, Activision could make its games only available on its own consoles or, worse, only on PlayStation. This would help Microsoft, but it “could lead to all gamers seeing higher prices, less variety, lower quality, and terrible service in gaming consoles over time,” the regulator said, hurting the growing cloud-gaming market.