Reports: Rivals believe Microsoft-Activision merger will hurt competition

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Another report by UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) says that during a meeting with six of the rivals, three admitted that Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard would harm the competitive nature of the gaming industry.

The CMA did not reveal the names of the rivals. Still, according to them, the six businesses are either current or potential rivals in “console gaming services or cloud gaming services” to Microsoft.

Of those six businesses, half think that the competition would suffer if Microsoft were to finalize the acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Two businesses didn’t think it would be harmful, while the third said it was too early to say.

Most of the rivals focus on the signature franchise of Activision, ‘Call of Duty’. CoD is one of the biggest franchises that Microsoft is aiming for. The rival companies expressed their displeasure about Microsoft acquiring Bethesda and making most of its games exclusive to PC and Xbox. They also claimed that the company might do something similar with the CoD franchise.

The CMA also noted some potential issues that could occur, like higher prices, reduced range, lower quality, and worse service in gaming consoles over time if the acquisition goes through. The UK watchdog reported that a quarter of players would shift to Xbox if the CoD franchise is exclusive.

Microsoft also announced that it would make one more effort to defend its $69 billion offer for Call of Duty creator Activision Blizzard in front of European Union (EU) and national antitrust inspectors on Feb. 21 during a private session.

The company previously justified the acquisition by claiming that it would help in competing gaming giants like Tencent and Sony and help make the games accessible to as many gamers as possible.

Sony has repeatedly opposed the deal and urged the EU to investigate the acquisition, claiming that Microsoft plans to make Activision games exclusives. Microsoft countered the claim and provided a 10-year deal to Nintendo and Sony for CoD. While Nintendo took the offer, Sony refused and is still against the acquisition.