The FTC announced today that it will be suing to block Microsoft’s Acquisition of Activision Blizzard. The vote was 3-1 in favor of filing a complaint, therefore a lawsuit will be filed in the FTC’s administrative court. This has been ongoing as the FTC has been reviewing the case for months.
In the announcement published today, the FTC heavily noted Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda as evidence. “Microsoft decided to make several of Bethesda’s titles including Starfield and Redfall Microsoft exclusives despite assurances it had given to European antitrust authorities that it had no incentive to withhold games from rival consoles”, the commission stated.
Concern has spiked in recent months regarding the potential of Microsoft making Call of Duty exclusive to the Xbox ecosystem. Sony has been extremely vocal about this acquisition, attempting to stop it from going through. Microsoft offered Sony a 10-year contract to keep the Call of Duty series on PlayStation, however as of this time they have not responded to this agreement. As a result, Microsoft announced earlier this week they established a 10-year contract with Nintendo, which has not seen a Call of Duty release in years. Additionally, Microsoft is pledging support to keep releasing titles day and date on the Steam platform. Head of Xbox Phil Spencer stated the company “is committed to helping bring more games to more people – however they choose to play.”
Microsoft President Brad Smith took to Twitter as well, stating “We continue to believe that our deal to acquire Activision Blizzard will expand competition and create more opportunities for gamers and game developers. We have been committed since Day One to addressing competition concerns, including by offering earlier this week proposed concessions to the FTC. While we believe in giving peace a chance, we have complete confidence in our case and welcome the opportunity to present it in court.”
On the news, Ashley Gold and Stephen Totilo of Axios noted “The FTC chose to file the complaint in its own administrative court, not in federal court. The agency is not seeking a preliminary injunction to stop the deal from closing, so the two parties are still likely to close.”
More and more news keeps being put out surrounding this acquisition, so be sure to stay tuned to Final Weapon for the latest on the Microsoft & Activision Blizzard merger.