Xbox vs CMA: Understand the impasse between Microsoft and the UK regulator | TC detective

In recent days, there has been a standoff between the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and Microsoft over questions about the limited availability of games in the Xbox Game Pass program.

After all, how did it happen and what are the details of this case? And in what other entanglements has the British regulatory body manifested itself in a similar way? Detective TC explains the case to you.

Acquisition of Activision

At the beginning of October, the CMA announced that it intended to deepen investigations – already in place since September – into the purchase of Activision by Microsoft Gaming. At the time, the agency released a memo expressing concern that the acquisition would hurt Sony’s competitive ability to compete in the market.

“The CMA is concerned that full control of this strong backlog, particularly in light of Microsoft’s already strong position in gaming consoles, operating systems and cloud infrastructure, could result in consumers harming Microsoft, undermining the ability of Sony – Microsoft’s closest gaming competitor – to compete as well as other existing competitors and potential new entrants.”

UK Competition and Markets Authority

In response, Microsoft made itself available to cooperate in the process and shut down the franchise Call of duty – most notably from Activision – is exclusive to Xbox, committing to release on PlayStation on the same day as your console.

“We are ready to work with the CMA on the next steps and address any concerns they may have. Sony, as the industry leader, says it’s concerned about Call of Duty, but we’ve said we’re committed to making the same game available on the same day on Xbox and PlayStation. We want people to have more access to games, not less.”


On October 15, the state antimonopoly agency began the second phase of the investigation into the purchase. The entity understands that this acquisition could pose a problem for competition in game consoles, subscription services and cloud streaming.

In the opinion of the CMA, Microsoft does not offer any pro-competitive solution with the purchase.

the first board games

The organ used these games in its arguments first party Xbox games are not available for services other than Game Pass. Here we can consider different situations. First, as an example gears 5 – announced by Xbox Game Studios -, which is already designed to be exclusive to the platform.

In addition, we can take into account Bethesda games, many of them present on PlayStation Plus. That is, there is already a history of availability of titles under the Microsoft umbrella with competitors.

On the other hand, the accusation did not come from the other side either, since several games developed by Sony are also not present on competing services – such as God of war not on Xbox, for example.

Sony would have a deal with Activision to veto Call of Duty on Xbox Game Pass for years

economy and markets
October 19

CADE approves the acquisition

economy and markets
October 6

Not the only CMA dead end

The Microsoft issue isn’t the only issue CMA is embroiled in with market giants. In October 2018, the British regulator also went so far as to demand concessions from Disney, which gave in to the request, in order to approve the purchase of FOX in the region.

But it is not necessary to go back that far. In July of this year, the UK Competition and Markets Authority launched an investigation against Amazon for alleged anti-competitive practices. In the entity’s opinion, it was necessary to examine whether the retailer distorted competition in order to benefit its business.

Jeff Bezos’ company was already under investigation in mid-2021, in an investigation that also targeted Google, for the CMA to understand whether calls Great technicians removed fake product reviews and reviews on their own e-commerce platforms.

What is your assessment of the conflict between CMA and Microsoft? Which side of the story are you on? Communicate with us!

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