Reuters reports that it’s seen a 91-page questionnaire written by the European Commission, designed to get information from companies more knowledgable about the subject.
According to a source reportedly familiar with the matter, the questionnnaire was sent out earlier this month, likely to console manufacturers, publishers, developers and distributors and providers of PC operating systems.
It’s claimed that the survey, which asked for responses before Christmas, asks recipients which exclusivity strategies they think Microsoft would be able to carry out if it was to acquire Activision Blizzard.
It also asks whether Microsoft is likely to raise the wholesale price of Activision’s games on competing consoles – thereby forcing retailers to charge more for PS5 versions, for example – or delay non-Xbox versions so they’re released at a later date.
As is the case with much of the discourse surrounding the proposed acquision, the survey is also said to focus specifically on Call of Duty at one point, asking if its recipients consider it the most important video game franchise for distributors, and what the main alternatives are.
In recent weeks Microsoft has been repeatedly making assurances that it intends to release Call of Duty games on PlayStation platforms for the foreseeable future.
In a bid to help gain approval for its proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard, earlier this month Microsoft said it had offered Sony a 10-year, legally enforceable contract to make each new Call of Duty game available on PlayStation the same day it comes to Xbox.
It also entered into a similar deal with Nintendo, and offered one to Steam owner Valve too, which resulted in Valve boss Gabe Newell publicly stating it wasn’t necessary because Xbox has “always followed through” on its promises.
Earlier this month the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said it was attempting to block the $68.7 billion deal because it believed it would enable Microsoft to “suppress competitors” to its Xbox consoles, its subscription content and its cloud gaming business.
In an official response to the news, Microsoft president Brad Smith said the company was confident in its case and would attempt to prove that the deal was not anti-competitive.