European Commission staff’s ‘my PlayStation’ tweet amid deeper EU Activision acquisition probe causes uproar

November

14, 2022

Microsoft’s $69 billion Activision acquisition is already a messy topic, with different competition watchdogs voicing concerns over its possible adverse effects on the worldwide market. Then, there’s Sony continuously expressing its objection to the proposed merger. With this, the last thing regulators would want in their current investigations is a hint of suspicions of being biased by the public. A European Commission staff seemed to forget it before making a tweet that outraged people.

“The Commission is working to ensure that you will still be able to play Call of Duty on other consoles (including my Playstation),” Ricardo Cardoso, EU Deputy Head of Unit Interinstitutional & Outreach, tweeted last week a day after the EU announced it was putting the deal into a deeper probe.

While the tweet reflects the visions of the regulator and Microsoft in making the Call of Duty available to different platforms, the added parenthesized phrase made the statement questionable to many due to Cardoso’s position at EU.

“It’s DEEPLY concerning how open regulators are about their very own biases,” one user’s comment reads. “‘My PlayStation’ certainly doesn’t imply objectivity & impartiality. Sony has been the industry leader for a while and it almost seems like regulators are more concerned with making sure it stays that way.”

“Are you speaking as a PlayStation user or as an impartial member of a commission that has the obligation of impartiality and study of the competition?” Another user asked Cardoso. “You should work harder and also protect the Xbox user even if you are not.”

Some believe the tweet favors Microsoft to further justify its proposed acquisition by highlighting the bias implied in Cardoso’s statement. The Commission, however, made a clarification about the issue through a statement to TweakTown, saying Cardoso is not a part of the group investigating the merger.

“As you’ve correctly pointed out, Mr Cardoso works in the Director General for the Internal Market and not in the Directorate General for Competition,” European Commission spokesperson Adriana Podesta told TweakTown. “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.”

Cardoso also recently added a comment on his own post, stressing that the tweet is his personal view and that he is excluded from the COMP group doing the investigation for mergers.

“To clarify: I am not involved in the assessment of the merger and don’t even work in the department dealing with mergers,” Cardoso explains in the tweet. “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.”

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