Microsoft’s protracted purchase of Activision Blizzard looks set to rumble on, after UK (and possibly EU) regulators decided to delve deeper into the $70 billion acquisition.
In the UK, the Competitions and Markets Authority are set to open a full investigation into the proposed takeover. That could have major ramifications for gamers on both Xbox and PlayStation, considering the stakes for major franchises owned by Activision Blizzard.
That’s after Microsoft decided not to provide evidence to assuage the CMA’s concerns, according to a Financial Times report, which also says the EU is likely to take on the same stance, which could hold up the takeover even further.
The CMA confirmed it is moving on to Phase 2. In its “Decision to refer” the regulator said: “On the information currently available to [the CMA], it is or may be the case that this Merger may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within a market or markets in the United Kingdom.”
In a statement given to GamesIndustry.biz, Sony has already welcomed the decision to open a full investigation, citing the “major negative implications” for gamers and the gaming industry, mainly due to concerns over Microsoft gaining control over the Call of Duty franchise. That still appears to be the major point of contention.
Microsoft has again emphasised the point it has been making along. It told the same publication it would make “zero business sense” for it to remove Call of Duty from PlayStation consoles. The Xbox maker even conceded this was because of Sony’s “leading console position.”
Earlier this week it emerged Sony had rejected an offer from Microsoft to keep CoD on PlayStation for three years after the current agreement expires. The rate this is going, it might be that long before this deal either goes through or is struck down.