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Microsoft’s Activision deal could harm gamers, says UK watchdog in interim report

WION logo WION 08-02-2023 Mukul Sharma
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Microsoft's $69 billion purchase of "Call of Duty" maker Activision Blizzard will stifle competition and hurt the gamers, an in-depth investigation in Britain found. Britain's Competition and Markets Authority said that the deal will result in 'harming UK gamers who cannot afford expensive consoles.'

The deal also could hurt British gamers by 'weakening the important rivalry' between Microsoft's Xbox console and Sony's rival PlayStation machines, the watchdog said in a report that has provisional status. The deal is facing widespread opposition from Sony. It is also facing pushback from watchdogs in the United States and Europe. This is because once the deal paves through, it would give Microsoft control of the world's most popular games such as Call of Duty and World of Warcraft. 

ALSO READ | EU opens antitrust probe into Microsoft buying Activision Blizzard

Rima Alaily, Microsoft's deputy general counsel, said the company is "committed to offering effective and easily enforceable solutions that address the CMA’s concerns."

UK watchdog to probe for a few months more

The United Kingdom antitrust probe will go on for a few more months. The final report, after the provisional report released on February 8, is due to be released on April 26. The watchdog will now seek feedback, including possible options to address its competition concerns, from interested parties.

What does it mean?

Microsoft had hoped that a favourable outcome from the UK watchdog could help its way through the lawsuit brought by the United States Federal Trade Commission.

ALSO WATCH | World Business Watch | FTC seeks to block Microsoft-Activision deal


The US FTC has sought to block the deal. It has argued that the merger could violate antitrust laws as it will suppress competitors to the Xbox game console and its growing game subscription business.

The Activision Blizzard deal is one of several regulatory hassles for Microsoft in Europe, amid increased scrutiny over worries that Microsoft’s dominance will further diminish the small gaming players.


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