The FTC Seeks To Block Microsoft Acquisition Of Activision Blizzard

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced today they are seeking to block the Microsoft acquisition of Activision Blizzard. The organization sent out a press release this afternoon, which we have the bulk of it for you below, in which they are alleging Xbox would gain control of too many video game franchises and enable them to "harm competition in high-performance gaming consoles and subscription services by denying or degrading rivals' access to its popular content." In short, they're claiming being in control of titles like Call Of Duty and Diablo will give them an edge over other companies. Or more to the point, allow them to mess with Sony, which is really what this is all about. We'll see what steps both sides take from here, as the acquisition is supposed to be complete in Spring 2023.

Xbox and Activision Blizzard, photo by Miguel Lagoa / Shutterstock.com.
Xbox and Activision Blizzard, photo by Miguel Lagoa / Shutterstock.com.
"The Federal Trade Commission is seeking to block technology giant Microsoft Corp. from acquiring leading video game developer Activision Blizzard, Inc. and its blockbuster gaming franchises such as Call of Duty, alleging that the $69 billion deal, Microsoft's largest ever and the largest ever in the video gaming industry, would enable Microsoft to suppress competitors to its Xbox gaming consoles and its rapidly growing subscription content and cloud-gaming business.
In a complaint issued today, the FTC pointed to Microsoft's record of acquiring and using valuable gaming content to suppress competition from rival consoles, including its acquisition of ZeniMax, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks (a well-known game developer). Microsoft decided to make several of Bethesda's titles, including Starfield and Redfall, Microsoft exclusives despite assurances it had given to European antitrust authorities that it had no incentive to withhold games from rival consoles. Microsoft's Xbox Series S and Series X are one of only two types of high-performance video game consoles. Importantly, Microsoft also offers a leading video game content subscription service called Xbox Game Pass, as well as a cutting-edge cloud-based video game streaming service, according to the complaint.
Activision is one of only a very small number of top video game developers in the world that create and publish high-quality video games for multiple devices, including video game consoles, PCs, and mobile devices. It produces some of the most iconic and popular video game titles, including Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Diablo, and Overwatch, and has a combined 154 million monthly active users around the world, according to the FTC's complaint. Activision currently has a strategy of offering its games on many devices regardless of producer. But that could change if the deal is allowed to proceed. With control over Activision's blockbuster franchises, Microsoft would have both the means and motive to harm competition by manipulating Activision's pricing, degrading Activision's game quality or player experience on rival consoles and gaming services, changing the terms and timing of access to Activision's content, or withholding content from competitors entirely, resulting in harm to consumers."

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Gavin SheehanAbout Gavin Sheehan

Gavin is the current Games Editor for Bleeding Cool. He has been a lifelong geek who can chat with you about comics, television, video games, and even pro wrestling. He can also teach you how to play Star Trek chess, be your Mercy on Overwatch, recommend random cool music, and goes rogue in D&D. He also enjoys hundreds of other geeky things that can't be covered in a single paragraph. Follow @TheGavinSheehan on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Vero, for random pictures and musings.
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