PCWorld (USA)

Game over? FTC sues to block Microsoft’s $69 billion Activision Blizzard takeover

Proposed $69 billion acquisitio­n would harm consumers, FTC says.


The Federal Trade Commission said Thursday that it is filing suit in an attempt to block Microsoft’s proposed $69 billion acquisitio­n of game developer Activision Blizzard, on the grounds that it would suppress competitio­n.

The FTC said ( fave.co/3ygecab) that the proposed deal could possibly change Activision’s existing strategy of supplying games to rival consoles, harming competitio­n. “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,” the FTC said.

In an attempt to get out ahead of the FTC’S action, Microsoft president Brad Smith penned a Wall Street Journal editorial ( fave. co/3hqeopa) in which he said that Microsoft would supply ten years’ worth of Call of Duty to Nintendo if the deal were to be approved. That gambit apparently didn’t work.

Activision’s stable of games includes Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Diablo, and Overwatch, with an estimated 154 million active monthly users, according to the agency. The FTC pointed to Microsoft’s decision to make several Bethesda titles, including

Starfield and Redfall, Microsoft exclusives after buying Zenimax, the parent of Bethesda Software. That contradict­ed statements Microsoft had made to European antitrust investigat­ors, the agency said.

“Microsoft has already shown that it can and will withhold content from its gaming rivals,” said Holly Vedova, director of the FTC’S Bureau of Competitio­n, in a statement. “Today we seek to stop Microsoft from gaining control over a leading independen­t game studio and using it to harm competitio­n in multiple dynamic and fastgrowin­g gaming markets.”

The FTC’S job is to preserve competitio­n for consumers, and the agency said that it has a reason to believe that competitio­n would be harmed if the deal proceeds. The FTC said that the complaint itself would be released soon.

 ?? ??
 ?? ?? Microsoft said it would supply ten years’ worth of Callofduty to Nintendo.
Microsoft said it would supply ten years’ worth of Callofduty to Nintendo.
 ?? ?? The FTC’S press release regarding the takeover.
The FTC’S press release regarding the takeover.

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