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FTC vs. Activision Blizzard takeover by Microsoft? – Journal of high-tech games

Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard seems to be taking a new turn.

While the Redmond giant continues to defend its rights, the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) “could” file an antitrust complaint and thus block the transaction.

FTC to File Antitrust Complaint in Case

Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard is currently one of the hottest issues in the world of video games. About 100 countries and institutions are currently reviewing the application, including the FTC. US media outlet Politico mentioned the possibility of filing an antitrust complaint on behalf of the commission. However, according to “three sources” close to the topic, the site indicates that this judicial action is not “safe”.

At the same time, the four commissioners of the FTC have yet to take concrete action on the case. However, we know that most of the investigation has already been completed. This concerns, among other things, the testimony of two key stakeholders, namely Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Bobby Kotik (Activision Blizzard).

FTC investigators clearly looked at the file. They remain skeptical about the arguments put forward by the two companies (Activision and Microsoft) in connection with this takeover. Given the progress of the case, we could see a likely antitrust complaint by December 2022.

Acquisition of Activision Blizzard: an “unfair” promotion?

Sony remains the main company opposed to the takeover. This seems logical due to the existing competition between the two giants PlayStation (Sony) and Xbox (Microsoft). The most sensitive topic obviously concerns Call of Duty, Activision Blizzard’s flagship game. The Japanese company fears that its competitor will turn this license exclusively for its console.

On the other hand, commissions of inquiry go beyond a single franchise. Activision Blizzard has many licenses to use, including Overwatch, Starcraft, Crash Bandicoot, or even Diablo and World of Warcraft. This would clearly change the balance between Sony (current number 1) and its competitor. Microsoft, however, has assured that as long as the PlayStation exists, it will continue to offer the game on that platform. The Redmond-based company also indicates that it will struggle to overtake Sony and Tencent (number 2) in the market.

For Sony, Microsoft is already a giant. Its financial strength ($68.7 billion in takeover) remains unmatched. The acquisition would give an unfair boost to a company that already capitalizes on other platforms like the PC. Meanwhile, the FTC and CMA continue to deepen their investigations, pushing back the closing of the deal until spring 2023.

Article published at 7:00, 04/12/2022

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