Microsoft is by no means certain to win the battle for regulators, in the US as in Europe, that would enable it to swallow Activision Blizzard. And now the players get involved!
Microsoft has pulled out all the stops to buy Activision Blizzard and its many franchises (call of duty, Diablo, World of Warcraftbut also candy destruction). The Windows publisher, and also the creator of Xbox, wants to complete a merger for more than 68 billion dollars! Given the weight of the two entities in the video game sector, it was almost mandatory for regulators to investigate the matter.
Fear of competition
In the United States, this proposed acquisition led to a complaint by the FTC (Federal Trace Commission), the organization responsible for competition issues. She simply wants the transaction to fail. The FTC is seeking to prevent Microsoft from wiping out competition, particularly in game streaming. Once Activision is absorbed, Xbox Game Pass may actually be second to none.
And the problems are far from over for Microsoft, as people in Europe are also wondering about the benefits of this acquisition. In early November, the European Commission launched an in-depth investigation into the operation, which could derail it… Or at least delay it for months.
The players also seize the file. Ten of them have come together to file a complaint against Microsoft. The acquisition would give Microsoft too much power in the video game industry, according to the California lawsuit. The plaintiffs fear in particular that Microsoft will give up call of duty on PlayStation, although the company is committed to continuing development of the flagship FPS on Sony’s console (and even Nintendo’s Switch).
Gamers are also concerned that Microsoft will refuse to make games on Mac once the purchase is validated. It is not certain that the US court will agree to investigate the complaint, but it is a sign that Microsoft will have to do a lot of pedagogy to convince that the acquisition of Activision Blizzard will benefit not only its shareholders, but also for the players.