Microsoft takeover of Activision could hurt gamers, UK regulator says

Microsoft takeover of Activision could hurt gamers, UK regulator says

A Call of Duty: Modern Warfare video game from Activision Blizzard is inserted into Microsoft’s Xbox One video game console installed in Denver, Colorado, Wednesday, January 19, 2022.

Michel Ciaglo | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Britain’s competition regulator said on Wednesday that Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of gaming giant Activision Blizzard could hurt competition in Britain’s gaming market.

In a press release on Wednesday, the Competition and Markets Authority said the takeover would likely lead to a substantial lessening of competition, leading to higher prices, less choice and less innovation in the sector.

The CMA has sent letters to Microsoft and Activision Blizzard outlining possible solutions to its concerns. Companies have until February 22 to respond. The regulator has not publicly released its proposed solutions.

“We are committed to providing effective and easily enforceable solutions that address CMA concerns,” Rima Alaily, Microsoft vice president and assistant general counsel, said in an emailed statement to CNBC.

“Our long-term commitment to grant 100% equal access to Call of Duty to Sony, Nintendo, Steam and others preserves the benefits of the agreement for players and developers and increases competition in the marketplace.”

Microsoft defines “100% equal access” as providing 10 years of parity across content, price, features, quality, and playability.

Activision Blizzard shares were down 4.6% in premarket trading in the United States on Wednesday following the CMA announcement.

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