The European Games Developer Federation (EGDF) has commented on Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard and announced its support.
“Microsoft is a major player in the gaming market. As a result, Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard for nearly $70 billion in early 2022 is under scrutiny by various competition authorities around the world. The EGDF acknowledges that Microsoft is capable of anti-competitive market behavior and has historically not consistently honored promises to continue making games published by acquired companies available on competing platforms. EGDF therefore welcomes the European Commission’s in-depth investigation into the competition concerns arising from Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard.”
“EGDF supports Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard as its potential positive impact on competition in gaming markets in general outweighs limited competition concerns specific to consoles and subscription markets. In addition, Sony is the clear leader in the console gaming markets with its Playstation platform, while Microsoft remains a challenger.”
“Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard strengthens competitive advantages for the global gaming markets. EGDF supports fair and sustainable competition in the gaming markets. The EGDF is particularly concerned about the recent consolidation in the global games industry. The more equally strong competing market players there are, the better for European game developers.”
“The Commission should broaden its focus from sector-specific competition concerns in the console market to assessing the impact of the acquisition on gaming markets in general.”
“Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard allows the company to challenge Apple and Google as the dominant providers of mobile gaming applications. Microsoft was one of the first companies to announce that it will take full advantage of the pro-competitive opportunities of the recently passed Digital Markets Act (DMA) by launching its own independent application stores on both Apple and Google platforms. In doing so, Microsoft is also paving the way for the small and medium-sized companies in the European games industry that do not have sufficient financial resources for the upcoming legal dispute to defend their new rights against Apple and Google.”
“The acquisition gives Microsoft the opportunity to challenge Apple in the emerging cloud gaming/game subscription services markets. Microsoft is the first Gatekeeper platform to build a successful cross-platform cloud gaming/subscription ecosystem. With Google ending its own subscription service Stadia, it’s important to have a strong competitor in the markets challenging Apple’s market position.”
“The acquisition allows Microsoft to challenge Tencent as the world’s leading game developer and publisher. In recent years, Chinese company Tencent has invested aggressively in game development studios and publishers around the world and is currently the largest game developer and publisher in the world. It is crucial to have a strong counterforce to Tencent’s influence in gaming markets.”
“EGDF welcomes Microsoft’s Open Appstore Principles, which proactively address many of the requirements that the forthcoming Digital Markets Act places on Microsoft as a gatekeeper platform.”
“EGDF urges Microsoft to continue its efforts to support competition in the marketplaces by:
– continue its work to make all its platforms more open and transparent, in particular by extending its App Store principles to Xbox.
– continues to allow controversial cultural and artistic content on all its platforms.
– It will continue to allow Web3 games on its platforms as these could be the catalyst for the emergence of new European platforms.
– Continued investment in small and medium sized game development studios to ensure greater variety of content across platforms.
– Continued investment in cross-platform game development and distribution of games across all platforms.
– Ensure the same access to personal and non-personal data for game developers and publishers as Microsoft has for all its platforms.
– Breaking the triopoly in the console market and competing in content by lowering the 30% platform fee for Xbox.
– Continued close dialogue with European game developers on improving their platforms and application stores.”
“EGDF calls on the European Commission to closely monitor how Microsoft implements the DMA in its Windows operating system and cross-platform Microsoft Store and to ensure that, should it condition its approval of the Activision Blizzard acquisition on commitments made by Microsoft is, these obligations, e.g. B. Ensuring the continued availability of Activision Blizzard games on competing consoles and subscription services, are underpinned with strong compliance and enforcement mechanisms.”
The EGDF brings together 23 national industry associations representing game development studios in 22 EU countries.