As per news agency Reuters, Microsoft President Brad Smith will try to convince EU antitrust regulators at a closed hearing that a $69 billion deal for “Call of Duty” maker Activision Blizzard will boost competition.
“I think we will make clear that our acquisition of Activision Blizzard will bring more games to more people on more devices and platforms than ever before,” Smith was quoted as saying.
Who will be present at the hearing
Microsoft’s top executive will be among the 18 senior executives, including Microsoft Gaming Chief Executive Officer Phil Spencer. The hearing will also see Activision CEO Robert Kotick, as per a European Commission document.
Alphabet’s Google and chip designer and computing firm Nvidia will also take part in the hearing. The European Games Developer Federation, which has said the deal will allow Microsoft to challenge Apple, Google and Tencent, is one of the participants.
“The European Commission asked for our views in the course of their inquiries into this issue. We will continue to cooperate in any processes, when requested, to ensure all views are considered,” a Google spokesperson was quoted as saying.
Video game distributor Valve, video game publisher Electronic Arts and the German competition watchdog and its peers in Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Sweden will also be taking part in the event.
Microsoft’s Call of Duty offer
Microsoft has repeatedly said that it doesn’t want to make Call of Duty franchise games Xbox-exclusive and has offered multi-year deals to Sony and others.
“We are in contact with Microsoft and have no further comment regarding our private negotiations,” said a Sony spokesperson in a statement to the Financial Times earlier this month.
Microsoft struck a 10-year deal with Nintendo that will see Call of Duty games launching on the gaming platform.
“We’re more than willing, given our strategy, to address the concerns that others have, whether it’s by contracts, like we did with Nintendo this morning, or whether it’s by regulatory undertakings, as we’ve consistently been open to addressing,” said Smith.
Microsoft’s $69 billion deal, struck last year, also ran into regulatory headwinds in the US as well.