EU regulators quiz rivals on Microsoft tactics after Activision

EU regulators quiz rivals on Microsoft tactics after Activision

Article content

BRUSSELS — EU antitrust regulators have asked game developers and distributors if they think Microsoft will block their access to Activision Blizzard’s games once it has bought the company, an EU document seen by Reuters shows.

The U.S. software giant and Xbox maker announced the $69 billion deal in January to help it compete better with leaders Tencent and Sony but has run into regulatory headwinds in the European Union, Britain and the United States.

Article content

The European Commission sent a 91-page questionnaire earlier this month, with recipients likely to be gaming companies, including console providers, game publishers, developers and distributors and providers of PC operating systems, a person familiar with the matter said.

See also  New York City cathedral shooter ‘planned to take hostages’

Advertisement 2

Story continues below

Article content

“Please specify which partial exclusivity strategy or strategies you believe Microsoft would have the ability to deploy with respect to Activision Blizzard’s console games after Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard,” the questionnaire asked.

The EU antitrust watchdog asked if such strategies would include degrading the quality or interoperability of Activision’s games available on competing consoles or providing upgrades to Activision’s games only on Xbox.

Other options were raising the wholesale price of Activision’s games for distribution on competing consoles and making them available on competing consoles at a later date.

Companies were also asked if Microsoft would make some of Activision’s gaming content and features exclusively available only on Xbox but not on competing consoles.

Advertisement 3

Story continues below

Article content

The document also included a question about Activision’s Call of Duty, asking which video game franchise is considered the most important for a console game distributor to offer and what other main alternatives there are to Call of Duty.

Regulators asked what advantages and disadvantages game developers and publishers and console game distributors would face if a game is distributed exclusively on one console.

They also wanted to know the impact for competition between cloud game streaming services if the combined Activision portfolio were to become available as part of such a service.

Rival providers of PC operating systems were asked if Microsoft would have the technical ability to prevent Activision’s games from being compatible with non-Windows operating systems.

See also  Stellantis looks beyond SUV era with new Peugeot 408

The Commission gave a deadline of shortly before Christmas for responses. (Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Alexander Smith)


Story continues below


Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *