The European Commission, which currently acts as the European Union’s competition and legislation watchdog, has announced an extension to its upcoming verdict on the acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft. While a firm decision was originally set to be handed down in April, late remedies submitted by Microsoft have reportedly delayed this decision to 22 May 2023.
While the exact remedies provided were not detailed by the European Commission, many have been publicly revealed by Microsoft in recent weeks. In addition to providing PlayStation and Nintendo with major, ten-year deals to bring Call of Duty to all platforms, Microsoft also recently announced a similar partnership with cloud streaming service Boosteroid.
These deals, and potentially other non-public agreements, have likely contributed to the decision to delay the verdict on Microsoft’s proposed acquisition. Given these remedies were provided in the later stages of the European Commission’s investigation, it now requires time to explore their impact.
During the month extension, the organisation will seek out additional feedback from rival companies and those opposed to the deal, to decide whether the remedies provided are enough to satisfy conditions for the deal to go ahead.
‘We have stood behind our promise to bring Call of Duty to more gamers on more devices by entering into agreements to bring the game to the Nintendo console and cloud game streaming services offered by Nvidia, Boosteroid, and Ubitus,’ a Microsoft spokesperson told Reuters of the evolving remedies provided.
‘We are now backing up that promise with binding commitments to the European Commission, which will ensure that this deal benefits gamers into the future.’
At this stage, the potential verdict handed down by the European Commission is unclear. Should the organisation be satisfied with remedies provided, a positive verdict will be a major step in Microsoft’s plans – although it won’t be a definitive end for the acquisition. Once this leg of the investigation is over, the company is expected to face similar, highly-rigorous scrutiny from competition watchdogs in the United States.