Will Microsoft’s $68.7 billion takeover of Activision-Blizzard studios really happen? According to Politico, the FTC, the US corporate regulator, is reportedly preparing to challenge the deal in court – in an antitrust action. If confirmed, it means authorities believe the takeover would give Microsoft a dominant position.
According to sources familiar with the matter, the members of the commission are currently unconvinced by Microsoft’s arguments, like those of Activision-Blizzard around the benefits that each party will derive from this takeover.
Will the FTC stop Microsoft from buying Activision?
Microsoft has been fined big in the past for abuse of dominance. More than 20 years ago, the firm had suffered heavy convictions in the United States and Europe for this reason, because of the market shares of Windows and the tied selling of the operating system, among others. However, this time, everything has been done to try to appease the regulator, in the United States and in the rest of the world.
Representatives of the firm have been discussing for months with the authorities of many countries in order to allay fears. And Microsoft officials like Activision-Blizzard are stepping in whenever they can to point out that the proposed merger will be in the best interests of gamers. In one of his last speeches, a spokesperson for the studios explains that the takeover by Microsoft “will benefit gamers and the American video game industry”.
And to add that this is all the more the case that “[Activision] must face increasingly tough competition from foreign studios”. For Microsoft, this huge takeover is probably one of the only ways to reverse a trend in video games that recently led Microsoft’s Xbox division to admit having lost the console war.
It must be said that PS4 sales are around 120 million against between 50 and 60 million sales for the same generation Xbox console (Xbox One). One of the elements that explains this large gap is that Sony has rather, so far, the advantage in terms of the games available, thanks to its links with a galaxy of leading studios.
Activision-Blizzard publishes many very popular games like Call of Duty. Which could therefore end up on Xbox in the very near future. The Activision-Blizzard takeover should be finalized in 2023 – but the effects for Xbox gamers should be felt later, as it will undoubtedly take time to adapt the license catalog.