The EU is reportedly launching an "advanced probe" into Microsoft's Activision Blizzard buyout

Activision Blizzard lawsuit
(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

The European Commission is reportedly planning to ramp up its investigation into Microsoft's $70 billion Activision Blizzard purchase after the tech giant declined to file remedies to appease regulators' concerns.

Politico reports that antitrust enforcers gave Microsoft a deadline of midnight tonight to submit formal commitments that might make the EU’s competition department feel better about the Activision Blizzard deal, and Microsoft decided against doing so. The EU has until November 8 to launch what's being called a "phase 2" of its probe, and it sounds like that's the plan at this point.

Like regulators in the UK, the EU's competition department worries Microsoft might make Call of Duty an Xbox-exclusive franchise if it owns the series' publisher, which could be seen as anti-competitive. However, Xbox boss Phil Spencer has repeatedly assured that the plan is to keep Call of Duty multiplatform. Just this week, Spencer told Same Brain that "as long as there's a PlayStation out there to ship to, our intent is that we continue to ship Call of Duty on PlayStation." He also recently said he'd like to "treat Call of Duty like Minecraft" and make it available on as many platforms as possible.

Despite scrutiny from around the world, Spencer has said he's "pretty confident" the deal will close, though he admits the transaction "keeps me up at night sometimes." He also said that regulators are "asking good, honest questions about a big deal." Microsoft's target for closing the deal is still at the end of its fiscal year ending on June 30, 2023.

Despite Microsoft's looming purchase of Activision Blizzard, Call of Duty just had its biggest PlayStation launch ever with Modern Warfare 2.

Jordan Gerblick

After scoring a degree in English from ASU, I worked as a copy editor while freelancing for places like SFX Magazine, Screen Rant, Game Revolution, and MMORPG on the side. Now, as GamesRadar's west coast Staff Writer, I'm responsible for managing the site's western regional executive branch, AKA my apartment, and writing about whatever horror game I'm too afraid to finish.