A new report claims that the FTC, one of the most powerful agencies in the United States, will block Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision. Earlier this year, Microsoft announced that it intended to buy Activision for just under $70 billion, making it the biggest deal in gaming history. This immediately received a lot of pushback from regulators, politicians, and gamers. Many feared that this could result in Call of Duty, a series that just released a game that had the biggest entertainment launch of 2022, going exclusive to Xbox. Microsoft has addressed these concerns by stating that it plans to treat Call of Duty as it has Minecraft, which continues to exist and with proper support on PlayStation and other devices. Still, some are not convinced. Microsoft apparently tried to guarantee that Call of Duty would continue to release on PlayStation for 10 years, but it may not matter.
According to Politico, the FTC is likely to block Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision via an antitrust lawsuit, which would be incredibly damaging. It’s important to note that Politico stated that this is not guaranteed, but the FTC staff is “skeptical” of Microsoft’s arguments in favor of the settlement. The agency is concerned that games like Call of Duty, which have the ability to become exclusive on Xbox, will create an unfair advantage against PlayStation and potentially create less choice for players.
“Any suggestion that the transaction could lead to anticomp effects is completely absurd. This merger will benefit players and the US gaming industry, especially as we face increasingly tough competition abroad,” he told Politico Activision spokesman Joe Christinat. “We are committed to continuing to work cooperatively with regulators around the world to allow the transaction to proceed, but we will not hesitate to fight to defend the transaction if necessary.”
As of now, it remains to be seen what will happen with this deal. Regulators in countries like Brazil have already approved the deal, so it is creating some divisive opinions globally. Either way, we’ll likely hear more in the coming weeks and see if the FTC moves to block the lawsuit settlement.
What do you think of this acquisition? Let me know in the comments or contact me at Twitter @Cade_Onder.