The US Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint on Thursday seeking to block Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard. This is due to concerns that withholding access to popular titles such as Call of Duty would hurt competitors. The agency claims it has a history of denying competitors access to content acquired by Microsoft.
“Microsoft has already shown it can and will withhold content from its gaming rivals.” Said Holly Vedova, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, said: “Today, we are trying to stop Microsoft from taking control of major independent game studios and using it to undermine competition in multiple dynamic and fast-growing gaming markets.”
The FTC is a reminder that when Microsoft acquired ZeniMax (owner of Bethesda Softworks), it assured European antitrust agencies that it would not withhold games from competing console platforms. However, shortly after the transaction was completed, star field When red fall The game is now exclusive to Microsoft.
Activision Blizzard is a leading independent game publisher, currently offering titles across all platforms including Microsoft’s Xbox and Windows, Sony’s PlayStation and Nintendo’s Switch. Additionally, Activision has some of the most played titles in the world. call of duty, world of warcraft, Diablo, When overwatch — in its stable version, it would affect hundreds of millions of gamers around the world if Microsoft decided to damage its rivals by blocking access to these games.
The FTC isn’t the first agency or organization to try to block Microsoft’s offer to acquire Activision in a record-breaking $68.7 billion deal. industry. A number of antitrust authorities are examining the proposed bids in detail. A number of companies, including Microsoft rival Sony, have claimed that Microsoft will dedicate Activision Blizzard’s popular titles to their consoles and cloud gaming platform.
Microsoft itself denies any cheating plans and claims the deal will increase competition and create more opportunities for gamers and developers.
“We continue to believe that the deal to acquire Activision Blizzard will increase competition and create more opportunities for gamers and game developers.” Said Brad Smith, vice chairman and president of Microsoft. “From day one, we have been committed to addressing competition concerns, including offering the FTC the concessions proposed earlier this week. , we have complete confidence in our case and welcome the opportunity to present it in court.
This isn’t the first time the FTC has sued to block a large takeover deal. In December 2021, the FTC filed a complaint to block the merger of Nvidia and Arm. This was done over concerns that if Nvidia took control of Arm, it would be withholding certain technologies to give it an edge over its competitors. Nvidia dropped the proposal in February 2022, citing significant regulatory issues.