On Thursday, the UK announced it would conduct a “in-depth inquiry” into Microsoft’s proposed $69 billion acquisition of US gaming company Activision Blizzard, citing competition concerns in the country.
In January, the US computer giant Microsoft announced plans to acquire the owner of popular games like “Candy Crush” and “Call of Duty” in an effort to build the world’s third largest gaming company by revenue, after China’s Tencent and Japan’s Sony.
Already controversial due to allegations of sexual harassment against women at Activision, the proposed purchase now faces an investigation by Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority.
The CMA has sent Microsoft’s planned acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Inc. for further scrutiny, according to a statement.
It went on to say that “significant weakening of competition within a market or markets in the United Kingdom” could be expected as a result of the merger.
World of Warcraft, another massively multiplayer online role-playing game, is also published by Activision Blizzard.
Senior director of mergers at the CMA Sorcha O’Carroll has already voiced concern that Microsoft could use its dominance over Call of Duty and World of Warcraft “to hurt rivals, including recent and future rivals in multi-game subscription services and cloud gaming.”
Sony is worried that it may not be able to provide access to Call of Duty on the PlayStation platform in the future.
Microsoft, however, said in a statement on Thursday that “it makes zero commercial sense… to remove Call of Duty from PlayStation given its market leading console position.”