January 29, 2023

The deal between Microsoft and Activision has been scrutinized by 16 regulators around the world, but the FTC is the first of the three main regulators in the UK and EU to make a decision on the acquisition.

Microsoft argues that the deal is good for consumers because it gives more people access to Activision’s extensive game library on different platforms as part of a bundled subscription to Xbox Game Pass, its Netflix-like offering. Streaming services instead of downloading and buying each game individually.

But the FTC said customers would be harmed because Microsoft could abuse Activision’s popular games to its own advantage, either by blocking access to them from rivals like Sony or by exploiting the power of Microsoft’s data centers to stream more popular games online. Gain the upper hand when playing multiple games.

The lawsuit follows a last-ditch scramble by Microsoft to assuage regulators’ concerns.

In mid-November, Microsoft offered Sony a 10-year Call of Duty deal, much longer than previous offers. In an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal on Monday, Microsoft President Brad Smith, who oversees lobbying, said the company was “willing to make the same commitment to other platforms and to make it easier for regulators in the U.S., U.K. and Europe.” enforced under the legal constraints of the Alliance. “

Late Tuesday night, in an announcement aimed at reassuring regulators, Microsoft said it had reached an agreement to bring the Call of Duty franchise to Nintendo’s Switch device — which are currently the most popular — if the Activision deal ends. Game not available on this device – for 10 years.

Microsoft is also on the offensive against Sony, which has emerged as the main rival in the Activision deal in recent months. Sony, which makes the popular video game console PlayStation, Tell The U.K. regulator argued that the acquisition would put the key game “entirely under Microsoft’s control, giving it an unprecedented content advantage,” and that Microsoft has not offered to make Call of Duty available on Sony’s game-streaming service.

In statements, Microsoft directly attacked its rivals, including in a Twitter post by Mr. Smith on Tuesday night after the deal with Nintendo was announced.

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