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EU Questions Microsoft-Activision Rival Access

 |  July 24, 2022

European antitrust enforcers are asking whether Microsoft would shut rivals out from Activision’s popular video game library as part of a review of the tech giant’s planned $69 billion deal for the game developer, according to people familiar with the matter and documents seen by Politico.

The European Commission circulated questionnaires to competing firms in early July and officials have also been holding meetings with Microsoft’s rivals to discuss their concerns about the record-breaking deal, which is yet to be formally notified in Europe.

According to the Commission’s request for information, regulators are keen to know whether and “how Microsoft could selectively degrade the compatibility and accessibility of Game Pass” on rival platforms. Game Pass is Microsoft’s video game subscription service for Xbox and PC users.  

Competitors have voiced concerns over Microsoft potentially restricting access to some of Activision’s titles, such as Call of Duty,  for rival subscription gaming services if the deal is approved.

While the Commission’s formal review of a deal only kicks off once the companies file for approval, it frequently sends questionnaires during the so-called pre-notification period to gather information that lets it identify potential antitrust issues.

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