Almost 100 pages of interrogation to the main assets of the video game industry.
While on the other side of the pond the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has blocked the purchase of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft and, surely, the thing will be resolved in court, in our territory the European Commission has started a round of contacts with other video game companies to ask them how would this operation affect to sector. This community body gave the go-ahead to the purchase of Bethesda, but it may not be the same in the case of Activision Blizzard.
We have already seen this type of conversation with companies in the video game industry in Brazil and, to no one’s surprise, only PlayStation opposed the operation. Finally, the Brazilian body gave the go-ahead to Microsoft and Activision Blizzard. We’ll see what happens in Europe.
What situation does Microsoft’s purchase of Activision Blizzard leave?
According to a report by the Reuters agency, the European Commission has drafted a 91 page quiz that it would have sent at the beginning of the month to the most relevant assets in the video game industry: console manufacturers, publishers, developers and distributors, and providers of PC operating systems.
Among the many questions raised by the antitrust body of the European Union, it asks if Microsoft would make Activision Blizzard content exclusive to Xbox. “Please specify which partial exclusivity strategy(ies) believes that Microsoft would have the ability to implement with respect to Activision Blizzard’s console games after Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard,” the questionnaire asks.
But it doesn’t stop there, the exhaustive questionnaire also asks about a possible strategy to degrade the quality of games from Activision Blizzard on competing consoles, making Xbox console-exclusive upgrades, the possible content price hike from Activision Blizzard on competing consoles or the delay of its release date.
Regarding the specific case of Call of Duty, the big bone of contention, the Commission asks “which video game franchise is considered the most important for a distributor of console games and what other top alternatives are there to Call of Duty“. Question exactly the same as the one that the Brazilian organization did in its day.
The Commission also asks what advantages and disadvantages developers, publishers and distributors of console games would face if a game is distributed exclusively on one console and what would be the impact on streaming game services if Microsoft added the catalog of Activision Blizzard games exclusively for its service.
Finally, the European Commission also seems to be concerned about the impact of this operation on PC and ask other operating system vendors if Microsoft could make Activision Blizzard’s catalog of games incompatible with systems other than Windows.
The maximum period to answer To these answers, according to Reuters, it would have been “before Christmas”, although he assures that he has not received a response from the community body in this regard. While the organizations finish making up their minds, just a few days ago Microsoft offered PlayStation the arrival of Call of Duty on PS+ after the blues rejected that guaranteed ten-year distribution agreement.