Regulators want to know whether Xbox is likely to charge more for Activision games on other platforms, and as always, Call of Duty is the focus.
As Xbox continues to push in an attempt to pull off its nearly $70 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, EU regulators have reportedly turned to developers and publishers for information. A questionnaire reportedly sent to various companies earlier this month is an attempt to get a better picture of what an approved acquisition might mean for the video game industry as a whole.
According to Reuters (thanks, VGC), the European Commission apparently issued a 91-page questionnaire to some publishers and developers in early December, asking that it be filled out and returned before Christmas. Although it does not appear that game studios were approached, the questionnaire has been sent to console developers and PC operating system manufacturers.
The European Commission is seeking answers on a number of issues, including exactly what Xbox will be able to do with future Activision Blizzard games if the deal is approved. Regulators want to know whether Xbox is likely to be able to release lower-quality versions of the same game on rival platforms, as well as whether Activision Blizzard is likely to release games on Xbox earlier than other platforms, both of which potentially drive players away from PlayStation and Nintendo.
Whether Xbox is likely to charge more for the same games on other platforms is another potential issue raised, and as always with this acquisition saga, Call of Duty is at the center of many of the questions being asked. Publishers and developers were asked whether they believe the series is the most important in the industry in terms of sales and what alternatives exist if Call of Duty leaves certain platforms in the future, questions it has previously asked publishers.
Despite Xbox’s best efforts, it seems the fear of Call of Duty becoming exclusive to its consoles is still a fear among regulators. This is despite the fact that PlayStation was offered a deal that would keep the series on its consoles for the next ten years, and Nintendo seemingly cut the same deal after PlayStation turned its nose up. Activision Blizzard also continues to face problems behind the scenes, as lawsuits revolving around allegations of sexual harassment and a toxic work culture remain ongoing.
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