Microsoft and Nintendo are facing an EU hearing over their Call of Duty agreement. The two companies signed a deal to allow the popular first-person shooter game to be played on Nintendo’s Switch console through Microsoft’s xCloud service. However, the European Commission is concerned that the agreement may have violated competition rules. The hearing is set to take place in Brussels in March.
The EU has been taking a closer look at the gaming industry and its practices, particularly when it comes to digital distribution and in-app purchases. Last year, the EU launched an antitrust investigation into Apple’s App Store practices after a complaint was filed by Spotify. The EU’s investigation focused on the 30% commission that Apple charges developers for in-app purchases and subscriptions, as well as the fact that developers are required to use Apple’s payment system.
The EU has also been examining Google’s Play Store practices, particularly the commission that it charges for in-app purchases. In 2021, Google reduced its commission rate from 30% to 15% for the first $1 million in revenue generated by developers each year. However, the EU is continuing to investigate Google’s practices.
The Call of Duty agreement between Microsoft and Nintendo is just one example of the kinds of deals that the EU is scrutinizing. The EU is particularly concerned about the power that big tech companies hold over the gaming industry and the potential for anticompetitive behavior. As such, the EU is expected to take a more active role in regulating the industry going forward.