UK Authority Reveals 'Concerns' Over Xbox's Acquisition Of Activision Blizzard

Update: Xbox boss Phil Spencer has now responded to this in a long letter on the Microsoft website:

Original story: We've got some not-so-good news to share on the progress of the Activision Blizzard acquisition today, as the Competition and Markets Authority in the UK has revealed some "concerns" it has regarding the deal.

The CMA has completed its Phase 1 investigation into the acquisition, and says that it's worried Microsoft might use the likes of Call of Duty and World of Warcraft to "harm rivals" in the future:

“Following our Phase 1 investigation, we are concerned that Microsoft could use its control over popular games like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft post-merger to harm rivals, including recent and future rivals in multi-game subscription services and cloud gaming."

The comments from CMA's senior director of mergers were followed up with a statement that the authority would look to begin an "in-depth Phase 2 investigation" unless the current concerns were addressed. Microsoft and Activision Blizzard have five working days to submit proposals to the CMA, otherwise Phase 2 will automatically begin.

"If our current concerns are not addressed, we plan to explore this deal in an in-depth Phase 2 investigation to reach a decision that works in the interests of UK gamers and businesses."

Here are a few more comments about the concerns from the UK government website:

"The CMA is concerned that if Microsoft buys Activision Blizzard it could harm rivals, including recent and future entrants into gaming, by refusing them access to Activision Blizzard games or providing access on much worse terms."

"The CMA is concerned that Microsoft could leverage Activision Blizzard’s games together with Microsoft’s strength across console, cloud, and PC operating systems to damage competition in the nascent market for cloud gaming services."

Yesterday, journalist Tom Warren also took to Twitter to suggest that he believed the acquisition wouldn't be completed until 2023 — and now these concerns from the CMA will definitely have thrown another spanner in the works.

What do you make of these concerns? Let us know down in the comments below.

[source, via]