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EU Surveys Video Game Industry Over Microsoft-Activision Buy

 |  December 21, 2022

The European Commission is now asking around the video game industry itself to acquire more information about Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard King.

The regulator sent a 91 page questionnaire earlier this month, with a deadline for the end of the year. Possible recipients for this survey probably run the gamut of all the different arms of the industry. That includes Microsoft’s and Activision Blizzard King’s competitors, and includes retailers, distributors, game studios, game publishers, OEMs for both PCs and mobile devices, and possibly even social media influencers.

Related: Gamers Sue Microsoft Over $69 Billion Activision Deal

The questionnaire basically lays out flat all the possible worst case scenarios Microsoft could do after they finalize this purchase, and gauges from respondents how likely these could happen.

So, for example, the EU asked point blank if Microsoft would block Activision Blizzard King’s games from being sold on other platforms. Other questions were if they would willingly degrade the quality of ports of their game to non-Microsoft platforms, raise their prices, enforce exclusivity and/or timed exclusivity.

Other questions raise interesting possibilities, and do seem to indicate the EU has also taken Microsoft’s case for approving the acquisition to heart.

For example, respondents were asked what would be the consequences for competition in cloud gaming if Activision Blizzard King’s games were suddenly available in cloud gaming servers.

Of course, the canard that everyone has seemingly focused on, thanks to Sony’s prodding, is their pet franchise from Activision themselves, Call of Duty. Video game retailers and distributors were probed to find out if Sony’s claims that it has an outsized influence in the industry, so much so that Microsoft acquiring it would hurt competition. They were also asked about potential competitors to Call of Duty.