One of the largest mergers of the modern era, Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard, has received massive support from the British public. More than 75% of respondents were in favor of the deal, with a smaller percentage voicing their opposition. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), a UK anti-competition regulator, asked the public to comment on the deal. Of the 2,100 responses, roughly three-quarters were in favor of the deal, with fewer expressing concerns.
The deal is a major boost for Microsoft, which will become the third largest gaming company in the world. It will also help the software giant compete with its rivals, Sony and Nintendo. During the initial announcement of the deal, Microsoft stated that it was committed to not making Activision games exclusive to the Xbox console. This has been one of the main arguments raised by critics.
But while it’s clear that the public is in favor of the acquisition, it’s unclear how the deal will impact competition. A recent survey by the CMA highlighted the potential downsides to the deal.
As the CMA notes, there are three ways the merger could lessen competition: by limiting the variety of games available, by raising the cost of gaming, and by stifling innovation. These are issues that the CMA intends to investigate further. They will ask companies to respond to them within five working days, and they have until November 8 to do so.
The FTC has also raised concerns about the deal, arguing that it would violate federal law. If the FTC is successful in blocking the deal, Microsoft will face a lawsuit. However, the company has said that it will use “best efforts” to close the deal.
Meanwhile, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been investigating the merger since July. Earlier this year, it invited the public to comment on the deal. By March, the CMA will release a full report. Until then, a summary of the public’s comments has been released, including the views of those who favored the deal and those who opposed it.
In addition to competition concerns, some respondents also voiced concerns about Microsoft’s treatment of workers. It was revealed that the gaming giant was paying women less than men. Furthermore, it was accused of allowing frat boy workplace culture to thrive.
While the public is clearly in support of the acquisition, Microsoft’s real challenge is with the regulators. In recent years, Microsoft has been more cooperative than its rivals. Google, Facebook and Alphabet all faced competition inquiries from U.S. officials. That may not be a good look for Microsoft, especially since Microsoft shares have plunged more than 35% in 2022.
Despite the opposition, Microsoft is putting on a brave face and is making concessions to ease the government’s concerns. Some of these concessions include adding the “Call of Duty” series to Xbox Game Pass, which will lower the cost of accessing games for consumers. Hopefully, Microsoft’s actions will lead to a better gaming industry and more opportunities for game developers.