The EU has issued an official antitrust warning to Microsoft. In a so-called “objection statement” sent to the tech giant on Tuesday, European regulators outlined why the deal to buy Activision Blizzard could jeopardize fair competition in the video game market.
The announcement comes after the EU launched an in-depth investigation into the deal in November, finding that the deal could give Microsoft an unfair advantage by preventing other companies from accessing Activision-Blizzard’s popular Call of Duty franchise . According to the European Commission, such a strategy could reduce the possibility of competition in the distribution of video games for PC and consoles, which could lead to higher prices, a decrease in the quality of games and a decrease in the number of innovations that could ultimately affect users.
In response to the new allegations, Microsoft said it would certainly look at ways to strike a deal. The company states that it is listening carefully to the concerns of the European Commission and is confident that it can resolve the existing doubts.
In Washington, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) petitioned the court to block the deal because of the potential damage it could cause to the video game industry. The agency said Microsoft has a history of buying up companies and then restricting access to popular games. Microsoft itself denies such claims. In addition, the tech giant offered Sony access to Call of Duty for the next 10 years and agreed to strike similar deals with Nintendo and Valve.
It is also known that the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is due to report the results of its own investigation into the transaction earlier this month.