PlayStation boss Jim Ryan has met with the European Commission in the course of their investigation of the Microsoft acquisition of Activision Blizzard King.
Jim Ryan met no less than EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager on Wednesday. This was disclosed by someone close to the matter, but they declined to share more details.
To clear up the timeline, this happened after Microsoft themselves subpoenaed Sony to appear on their behalf in the FTC’s lawsuit, involving the same matter.
Sony has consistently expressed opposition to the purchase, claiming that if it is allowed to push through, it will be detrimental to competition in the video game industry. Sony has also particularly focused on the Call of Duty series, stating that even if Microsoft continues to sell the game on PlayStation, they can push gamers to Xbox by offering better incentives for gamers.
The FTC expressed the same arguments when they filed their case vs Microsoft on the matter, but that argument has faced criticism, with one antitrust lawyer quoted that the case is “built entirely on anecdote”.
For their part, the EU is expected to send Microsoft a charge sheet indicating their concerns about the acquisition. Microsoft’s attempt to preemptively offer remedies was rebuffed, but at least the two sides are actually talking.
We can only speculate if that subpoena was discussed in the meeting, but the EU and FTC investigations of the acquisition are completely independent of each other, and the two sides are mainly sharing information more than anything else. While the concerns are the same, their conclusions may go to different directions as they have to move forward based on the rules and specific circumstances for their respective market regions.
On the other hand, the FTC may be attempting to steer the EU’s investigation of the acquisition in their own way. It’s been alleged that FTC filed the suit after talking with the EU, with the intention of blocking the EU from reaching a settlement with Microsoft.
While it would make sense for the FTC to take actions to hasten their desired conclusion on the matter, it would be clearly improper for the regulator to be doing so by interfering with regulators from another country.
As should also be obvious, the different parties involved are now making moves to bring the matter closer to resolution. Don’t be surprised if even more surprises come to light in the next few weeks.
Source: Reuters via Video Games Chronicle