Gaming

Microsoft ‘apparently ready to make concessions’ to European authorities to confirm Activision takeover

To increase its chances of getting approval from European antitrust authorities in its takeover of Activision Blizzard, Microsoft says it’s willing to make concessions, such as officially guaranteeing that Call of Duty will be distributed on the PlayStation for ten years.

At the beginning of the year, Microsoft announced its intention to buy the Activision Blizzard group for $69 billion, but the transaction can only take place if it is confirmed by the antitrust authorities of various countries of the world – the authorities of 16 countries have already taken up the case, and so far only Brazil and Saudi Arabia have approved the deal. However, the most important investigations remain those of the European Commission and the Federal Trade Commission in the United States, and according to a Reuters report that echoes the European Commission’s indiscretions, Microsoft is clearly ready to make concessions.

Specifically, as part of its investigation, the European Commission may formulate a “statement of objection”, that is, a list of elements that cause competition problems that could block a deal. To avoid any risk of blocking and expedite the review process, Microsoft may consider these complaints and propose corrective actions that will shorten the regulatory process and increase the chances of obtaining a speedy clearance from European antitrust authorities.

In the lot, the Call of Duty license (owned by Activision) and its availability on the PlayStation is still and always at the center of the debate – Sony has made it an argument to demand a veto from the competition authorities. As a concession, Microsoft can guarantee an agreement to distribute the next Call of Duty on PlayStation over the next ten years with the same content and simultaneous release dates on Xbox and PlayStation. In other words, the license could not become exclusive to Xbox for the next ten years. We remember that Microsoft representatives have already mentioned this idea publicly (in interviews or on social networks). The “promise” could be formalized before the European Commission to provide guarantees to Sony.

At the same time, Microsoft says it will continue to work with European authorities to respond to “legitimate market concerns.” In the case of an agreement in Europe, then it remains to convince the FTC in the United States – and this should not be a formality either.

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