The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority launched an investigation into Microsoft’s proposed $68.7 billion acquisition of games publisher Activision Blizzard, in one of the first major probes of the deal.

Parties are invited to comment on the deal until 20 July, with the CMA stating it will reach a decision on 1 September on whether to clear the deal or launch a deeper phase two probe.

In addition to the impact on competition, the CMA will assess if the tie-up could affect consumers by raising prices, lower quality and reduce choice.

Microsoft cited Activision Blizzard’s strong presence in mobile as one of the primary motivators for the acquisition. The gaming publisher is behind popular mobile title Candy Crush and console-orientated hit Call of Duty.

If cleared, it will be Microsoft’s biggest purchases ever and also the largest all-cash technology acquisition on record.

As well as boosting its presence in mobile, in addition to PC and the console sectors, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella also stated gaming would play a key role in developing metaverse platforms.

When it announced the deal in January, Microsoft targeted a close during its fiscal 2023, which commenced on 1 July.