The purchase of Activision-Blizzard for the titanic sum of 69 billion dollars was announced with great fanfare by Microsoft last January. Today, we learn on Politico that the Federal Trade Commission, a United States federal market regulation agency, is investigating the subject and would be ready to take legal action to prevent the acquisition , according to sources familiar with the matter. Indeed, the FTC is concerned about the unfair advantage that such a purchase would provide for Microsoft and its consequences on the future of the market. According to the article, such a lawsuit would not be trivial: the companies having until next July to conclude the agreement, an unresolved administrative lawsuit could force them to abandon the transaction.
But that’s not all. At the same time, the British CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) is also investigating the acquisition. Based on initial feedback, the organization believes that “it is or could be expected that this merger will result in a substantial lessening of competition in one or more markets in the UK”. In a long document published at the end of October, she explained in detail her concerns. To sum up, beyond games and licenses, it is the entire Microsoft ecosystem – consoles (Xbox), cloud platform (Azure) and OS (Windows) – which would find itself in a position of superiority, whereas he is already one of the leaders in these fields. This could, moreover, facilitate the blocking of competition, by proposing prohibitive costs for the use of its server solutions, for example.
Interestingly, the CMA publicly disclosed the responses of the parties involved yesterday, including Sony which is concerned that Microsoft will make Activision-Blizzard games exclusive to its platforms and end up raising prices. A rather hypocritical statement from a box notoriously known for its exclusives and which recently increased the price of its latest console by 50€… More interestingly, the text confirms that Call of Duty is a really important license for the console, and takes the opportunity to explain that its success is impossible to replicate by taking the poor Battlefield series as an example.
However, Microsoft’s response brushes off Sony’s concerns over Call of. According to the Redmond firm, if Nintendo and Steam were able to get by without it, then Sony too. As for the CMA’s allegations, the company believes that they are far off the mark and that the ecosystem “has not given Microsoft an advantage in the distribution of PC games, with Microsoft occupying the seventh place globally, far from behind the major PC game distributors”.
In short, while waiting for the conclusions of the various organizations (the European Commission is also on the spot), the agreement is still in the pipes and the process of investigation into such an acquisition is normal. Also, before you take the keyboard to defend your favorite brand in long cobblestones on Twitter, we will simply remind you that, in any case, these companies are not your friends and are intended to pick your pockets.