The European Commission has clarified claims of bias in its investigation into Microsoft’s Activision-Blizzard deal, following comments by a senior official on social media.
Ricardo Cardoso, deputy head of the Inter-Agency and Public Affairs Unit at the governing body, tweeted earlier this week that “the Commission is working to ensure you can continue to play Call of Duty on other consoles (including my Playstation).”
The statement, while in fact consistent with the panel’s brief, has been criticized by some players for perceived bias from Sony, particularly after Xbox’s repeated assurances that Call of Duty will remain on PlayStation for the foreseeable future.
In a statement to Tweaktown, the European Commission has now made it clear that Cardoso is in no way involved in the process.
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“Mr Cardoso works in the Internal Market Directorate-General and not in the Competition Directorate-General,” the statement said.
“Mr. Cardoso is not involved in the evaluation of this transaction. In addition, as clearly stated on his Twitter profile, he tweets in a personal capacity.”
Cardoso tweeted on Saturday: “To be clear, I am not involved in the merger evaluation and I don’t even work in the department that deals with mergers. As my profile indicates, my comments are personal and not a position of the Commission, whose decision is based on facts and law.”
In responses to the original tweet, the use of the word “my” in reference to PlayStation seems to have angered fans the most, but Cardoso was apparently referring to the console he owns rather than any allegiance to a platform.
The European Commission has officially opened an in-depth investigation into Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
As expected, after its initial investigation into the $68.7 billion deal, European regulators said on Tuesday that they had launched a “Phase II” investigation due to competition concerns.
“The Commission is concerned that the proposed acquisition could affect competition in the markets for the distribution of console and PC video games and PC operating systems,” it said.
While the deal was approved by regulators in Saudi Arabia and Brazil, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority recently expanded its investigation into a second phase. It is in the process of inviting the public to share their views on the acquisition before making its final decision by March 1st.
The US Trade Commission could reportedly make its decision on the deal later this month.
Phil Spencer, Microsoft’s head of gaming, recently said he believes rigorous scrutiny by regulators is “fair” and “justified” and he remains confident the deal will be approved.