We previously reported on the EU commission investigating the Activision Blizzard purchase by Microsoft and reaching out to get opinions from the general public. Now, Reuters is reporting that they’ve been able to get a glimpse at a 91-page questionnaire that the commission sent to other gaming companies to gather their thoughts on the deal.
Questions include asking rival companies what they think the “strategy” behind the purchase could be for Microsoft and move into asking the companies about which games pose the biggest “threat” if pulled from other consoles. This is clearly in response to PlayStation’s constant rattling of the “Call of Duty” saber.
Regulators also wanted game companies to chime in on the impact the deal could have on cloud gaming and what titles could be offered via a subscription service (a la Game Pass) and if companies saw a legitimate rival to Call of Duty being viable if it should ever become exclusive (something Microsoft has repeatedly claimed would not happen).
Companies were given until a few days before Christmas to reply but, to date, no replies have been made public.
On the other side of the pond, the FTC has already filed a suit challenging this purchase, but now a group of Americans calling themselves “Video Gamers” are filing their own antitrust claim in a California court to try and stop the deal.
In a statement, plaintiffs’ attorney Joseph Saveri in San Francisco said, “As the video game industry continues to grow and evolve, it’s critical that we protect the market from monopolistic mergers that will harm consumers in the long run.” While the deal may not result in a monopoly by the strictest definition, the claimants are saying that the deal gives Microsoft “far-outsized market power in the video game industry,” and the ability to “foreclose rivals, limit output, reduce consumer choice, raise prices, and further inhibit competition.”
The suit was filed by a group of 10 gamers from California, New Mexico, and New Jersey.
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