FTC plans to sue Microsoft over the proposed Activision Blizzard deal, throwing yet another spanner into the works in the takeover saga.
Earlier in 2022, Microsoft made the first steps to acquire Activision Blizzard in a deal said to be worth $68.7 billion. Obviously, a deal of this magnitude was never going to be a straightforward process. However, at the forefront of Microsoft’s opposition has been Sony and PlayStation boss, Jim Ryan.
Microsoft will fight the FTC
In November 2022, reports suggested that the FTC (Federal Trades Commission) is “likely” to file a lawsuit against Microsoft over the proposed takeover. Microsoft responded by stating it will fight any potential challenge from the likes of the FTC.
However, in the latest twist, as reported by Game Rant, it seems that the prospect of the FTC filing a lawsuit against Microsoft is picking up steam. The alleged reasoning is due to the FTC believing that the Activision Blizzard deal would significantly suppress industry competition.
Furthermore, Microsoft’s takeover of Bethesda’s parent company, ZeniMax Media has been used as an example. Such as the likes of Starfield being made an Xbox exclusive following that particular takeover.
What’s more, the FTC also has concerns that Microsoft will inflate the prices of hardware, software as well as its Xbox Game Pass subscription service.
However, it’s perhaps worth keeping in mind that Sony has been at the forefront of new-gen games increasing in price. Not to mention that the PlayStation 5 console has seen its RRP increase in multiple regions across the world.
The FTC’s intentions seem conflicting
What’s more, Sony’s PlayStation Plus subscription service has seen multiple increases in its cost over the years. The increase in the price of PS Plus happened long before the service was revised with its subscription tiers.
To counterbalance that, Microsoft has also increased the price of its Xbox Live service, as is often the case with inflation in every walk of business life.
Sure, if Microsoft acquires Activision Blizzard, it could decide to keep Call of Duty to itself and increase the prices of its products and services. However, so could any company. Personally, I’d find it hard to believe that if Sony had the opportunity to acquire Activision Blizzard first, it wouldn’t jump at that chance.
That being said, Microsoft has seemingly shown no intentions of hogging the Call of Duty series to itself. Call of Duty is a massive money-maker and by restricting it just to Xbox, it would surely make even less money, compared to being multi-platform.
Contrary to Sony’s apparent beliefs, not only has Microsoft previously suggested on various occasions that it doesn’t intend to make Call of Duty an exclusive, but both Sony and Nintendo have reportedly been offered 10-year deals.
What will happen if the FTC sues Microsoft?
I’m no legal expert, but I couldn’t see the FTC preventing Microsoft from acquiring Activision Blizzard. Regardless of whether it files a lawsuit or not.
Not only has the deal been approved by various market regulators across the world, but Microsoft has shown the willingness to comply with its rivals.
If anything, it’s the likes of Sony that have shown that lack of willingness. Recently, Xbox chief Phil Spencer claimed that Sony has more of an interest in talking to regulators than Microsoft.
Microsoft Activision Blizzard deal is expected to be completed in 2023
Personally, I believe that this deal will eventually happen, despite Sony’s and the FTC’s best efforts. However, if or when the deal goes through, that’s not to say that the FTC won’t look to sue Microsoft for its own reasons.
I said, I’m far from a legal expert, so take my words with a massive pinch of salt. If Microsoft and Activision Blizzard do get its way, the deal is expected to be finalised by June 2023.
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Featured Image Credit: Microsoft/Source: Game Rant