The European Commission has clarified claims of perceived bias in the probe into Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard deal, following comments from a senior staff member on social media.
Ricardo Cardoso, the Deputy Head of Unit Interinstitutional & Outreach at the governing body, tweeted earlier this week that the “Commission is working to ensure that you will still be able to play Call of Duty on other consoles (including my Playstation)”.
The statement, while factually in-line with the remit of the body, was met with criticism from some players over perceived Sony bias, especially following repeated assurance from Xbox claiming Call of Duty will remain on PlayStation for the foreseeable future.
Now, the European Commission has clarified in a statement to Tweaktown that Cardoso is not involved in the process whatsoever.
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“Mr Cardoso works in the Director General for the Internal Market and not in the Directorate General for Competition,” the statement reads.
“Mr Cardoso is not involved in the assessment of this transaction. Furthermore, as indicated clearly in his Twitter profile, he tweets in a personal capacity.”
On Saturday Cardoso tweeted the following: “To clarify: I am not involved in the assessment of the merger and don’t even work in the department dealing with mergers. As is clear from my profile my comments are personal and not a Commission position, whose decision will be taken on the basis of the facts and the law.”
In the replies to the original tweet, the use of the word “my” when referring to PlayStation seems to have irked fans the most, however, Cardoso was seemingly referring to the console he owns, rather than an allegiance to a platform.
The European Commission has officially launched an in-depth probe of Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
As expected, following its initial inquiries into the $68.7 billion deal, the European watchdog said on Tuesday that it had opened a ‘phase II’ investigation due to competition concerns.
“The Commission is concerned that the proposed acquisition may reduce competition in the markets for the distribution of console and personal computers (‘PCs’) video games and for PC operating systems,” it said.
While the deal has been approved by regulators in Saudi Arabia and Brazil, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority recently expanded its investigation to a second phase. It is in the process of inviting members of the public to share their views on the acquisition before giving its final decision by March 1.
The US Federal Trade Commission could reportedly make its ruling on the deal this month.
Microsoft’s head of gaming Phil Spencer recently said he believes heavy scrutiny from regulators is “fair” and “warranted”, and that he remains confident the deal will be approved.