The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) of the United States could file an antitrust lawsuit to block the $68.7 billion deal for Microsoft to acquire Activision Blizzard.
As reported by Politico, this news comes through “three people with knowledge of the matter”, and they emphasize that this demand is “not guaranteed”.
The four FTC commissioners have not bothered to vote on a complaint or meet with lawyers for Microsoft and Activision, but the FTC staff reviewing the settlement He is “skeptical of the companies’ arguments”.
As for the status of the deal, much of the “heavy lifting” has been completed, including statements from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Activision CEO Bobby Kotick. This means that the decision on a potential antitrust lawsuit could come as early as December.
The main crux of the problem, according to the FTC, is that some fear that this deal gives “Microsoft an unfair boost in the video game market.”
Sony has obviously been one of the biggest opponents of the deal, and the question of where Call of Duty will appear has been one of the hottest topics. Even though Xbox boss Phil Spencer has stated that Call of Duty will continue to come out on PlayStation “as long as there’s a PlayStation to send it to,” he remains concerned about what further problems this deal might create.
Sony has previously said that Microsoft is a “tech titan that buys irreplaceable content at uncontested prices ($68.7 billion) to skew the competition towards itself.”
Nevertheless, there are concerns beyond Call of Dutyas it is feared that future blockbuster titles will tip the scales if they are locked behind a platform.
Also Google is said to be against the deal, alleging that Microsoft has “intentionally downgraded the quality of its Game Pass subscription service when used with Google’s Chrome OS.” If the deal were to go through, he believes it would “increase the incentive [de Microsoft] to do it”.
Microsoft has refuted many of these claims. and recognizes that, even after the closing of the agreement, it would continue to occupy the third position.
“We will continue to lag Sony and Tencent in the market after the deal closes, and together, Activision and Xbox will benefit gamers and developers and make the industry more competitive,” Microsoft spokesman David Cuddy said.
In addition to the FTC, regulators in Europe and the UK have also launched in-depth investigations, which means that the deal probably won’t close until spring at the earliest. Microsoft and Activision have until July 2023 to close the deal or they will have to renegotiate it.