EU regulators push deadline on Microsoft-Activision deal

Antitrust regulators have pushed the deadline by 10 days.

by Rafly Gilang
Rafly Gilang
Rafly Gilang
Rafly is a journalist with growing experience, ranging from technology, business, social, and culture. A holder of the Romanian government scholarship, his writing has been published in several... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • Microsoft attempted to purchase the Activision Blizzard company for $69 billion.
  • This means that lots of Activision titles will soon be coming to the service.
  • EU regulators are pushing the deadline day of their final decision on the deal. 

EU antitrust regulators said that they need more time to decide on the Microsoft-Activision merger deal. The original provisional deadline was set to April 15, but it’s been pushed by 10 days. 

Earlier, the European Commission Executive VP Margrethe Vestager told Bloomberg that global lawmakers should not be in a rush to decide on such a thing. 

I think that’s a very important discussion because we cannot be in a race. We need to serve the specific markets where we have jurisdiction. And I also hope that people working with us appreciate that we have a different legal framework. I think in Europe we are the ones with the highest bar, the most heavyweight legal obligations. We need to produce a recent decision that will eventually go public but that will also have to stand up for very tight scrutiny in court.

Earlier in February 2023, Microsoft boss Brad Smith arrived at a hearing with EU antitrust regulators to smoothen up the tech giant’s attempt to acquire Activision Blizzard. 

In a document shown to Reuters, Microsoft’s delegation is a roster of 18 executives, including Smith and the Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer. In their defense, the Redmond company believed that the deal could bring more games to more people on more devices than ever.

Activision CEO Robert Kotick represented his company, while Sony, Google, and Nvidia Corp are also present in the hearing. 

However, regulators and experts have been warning that the deal, which almost reaches $69 billion, could harm market competition given the stature of Microsoft and prevent innovations. 

The deal didn’t go as smoothly as Microsoft wanted it to go

In 2022, Microsoft’s proposed $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard has been a really messy affair, as pretty much everyone expected it to be.

Even though the deal has been approved in some countries like Saudi Arabia and Brazil, it is facing hurdles in major markets like the EU and the U.S.

Also, it is being probed in the UK by the Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) while the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has said flat out that it doesn’t want the deal to go through.

And, as if that wasn’t enough, an independent group of gamers has also sued Microsoft because of the acquisition.

This lawsuit we mentioned has been filed by 10 U.S. gamers, three of whom play exclusively on PlayStation consoles.

Furthermore, the 45-page document argues that if the acquisition is allowed to proceed, it would have a lot of negative effects on the industry as a whole.

Of course, this includes reduced competition, higher prices, less creativity, decreased output, and Activision games being locked to Microsoft’s own platforms.

Note that the plaintiffs have demanded that Microsoft and Activision’s acquisition contract should be declared null and void and that they should be permanently restricted from going in this direction ever again.

Lots of Activision titles coming to Xbox Game Pass soon

Of course, this means that Microsoft plans to add many of Activision’s games to Xbox Game Pass once the deal has been finalized.

Earlier, Microsoft also announced that it’s signed a 10-year binding deal with Nintendo to bring more Xbox games, including Call of Duty, to the often-overlooked console.

The move could strengthen Microsoft’s position to acquire the famous game studio, the home to some of the most beloved franchises including COD, Overwatch, Crash Bandicoot, Sekiro, and more. 

Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, also previously said that they are investing deeply in world-class content, community, and the cloud to usher in a new era of gaming that puts players and creators first and makes gaming safe, inclusive, and accessible to all.

What do you think about this deal? Let us know in the comments!

This article covers:Topics: