The European Commission (the executive of the EU) had already been conducting initial inquiries into the deal, and had reportedly been asking Microsoft’s rivals about its activity in cloud gaming, and whether it could potentially deny access to Call of Duty on other platforms.
However, according to a new report by Politico, Microsoft had a deadline of midnight on October 31 to submit commitments to the EU that would help ease any concerns it had about the deal.
Sources familiar with the matter reportedly told Politico that Microsoft has failed to do this, thereby potentially triggering the second, more in-depth phase of the investigation.
If the European Commission now wishes to press ahead with Phase 2, it has to formally announce this before November 8.
Microsoft’s proposal to acquire Activision Blizzard continues to be investigated by anti-competition watchdogs around the world.
Saudi Arabia was the first regulatory authority to approve the deal in August, with Brazilian regulator CADE following suit in October.
However, the UK’s CMA has already officially expanded its investigation to a second phase, and is in the process of inviting members of the public to share their views on the proposed deal before giving its final decision on or before March 1.
Microsoft criticised the UK regulator’s decision to expand the inquiry, calling its concerns “misplaced” and claiming that it “adopts Sony’s complaints without the appropriate level of critical review”.
The US’s FTC is also investigating the deal, and is expected to make its ruling later this month.