The company’s plan to acquire Activision Blizzard is facing regulatory pressure, with an EU investigation and a potential antitrust lawsuit in the US.
Microsoft has agreed to bring the Call of Duty franchise to Nintendo consoles after it acquires video game giant Activision Blizzard.
The Xbox maker said it has entered into a 10-year commitment to bring the popular game franchise to rival console Nintendo. Microsoft gaming CEO Phil Spencer tweeted that it aims to bring more games to more people “however they choose to play”.
Microsoft shocked the global gaming world in January when it announced plans to snap up video game publisher Activision Blizzard for $68.7bn – the biggest gaming acquisition ever recorded.
However, the proposed acquisition of the company behind Call of Duty has raised concerns among regulators that it could stifle competition in the global video game market.
Last month, sources told Politico it is likely that the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will file an antitrust lawsuit to block the acquisition.
Microsoft’s agreement with Nintendo could be used to ease antitrust fears surrounding the deal.
This week, Microsoft executives are meeting with FTC chair Lina Khan and other commissioners to make its final case for the deal to go ahead, Bloomberg reports.
Meanwhile the European Commission has launched an in-depth investigation into the deal, probing how it could affect the gaming supply chain.
The Commission said it was particularly concerned that Microsoft may “foreclose access” to Activision Blizzard’s games, including high-profile titles such as the Call of Duty franchise.
Earlier this year, the UK’s competition watchdog also said that Microsoft’s proposed acquisition could “harm rivals” and “substantially lessen competition” in the gaming sector.
Xbox rival Sony also has concerns. In a recent opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft president Brad Smith noted that Sony is “the loudest objector” and is as excited about the deal “as Blockbuster was about the rise of Netflix”.
Smith also said the company has offered Sony a similar 10-year contract to make each new Call of Duty release available on PlayStation the same day it comes to Xbox.
“Any day Sony wants to sit down and talk, we’ll be happy to hammer out a 10-year deal for PlayStation as well,” Smith said on Twitter.
10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.