It thundered so much that it rained: theftc extension (Federal Trade Commission), the antitrust body of the United States, has decided to bring to court Microsoft foracquisition of Activision Blizzardin an attempt to block it. The hard line, rumored in recent days, therefore prevailed, with the Redmond house having to overcome a huge obstacle to reach the positive conclusion of the deal.
The motivations of the agency are very direct and cite the fact that with the acquisition Microsoft would take control of some of the strongest video game franchises in absolute terms, damaging competition in the console market and in that of subscription services, by denying or reducing the access of competitors to certain contents.
Hence the desire to block the $ 69 billion deal, the largest ever for Microsoft and for the video game market as a whole, which would allow it to “suppress competitors” of Xbox consoles, of its subscription service ” growing rapidly” and cloud gaming.
The FTC took as an example what Microsoft did with theacquisition of Zenimax and how it used its games, in particular those of Bethesda, made Xbox exclusive, to undermine the competition, behaving contrary to what it said before the European antitrust authorities.
Holly Vedova, the director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, said in this regard that “Microsoft has already shown that it can and will take content away from its rivals. Today we want to prevent Microsoft from taking control of a leading independent studio and using it to undermine the competition in the dynamic and growing video game markets.”
The FTC then recalled that Microsoft already has two consoles on the market, Xbox Series X and S, as well as a successful subscription service, the Game Pass. Activision itself is one of the top developers in the world capable of creating high-quality successful games for multiple platforms, with huge franchises such as Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Diablo and Overwatch.
The FTC fears that if the deal goes through, the tide could change as Microsoft manipulates the market through the pricing of Activision’s products, lowers the quality of its games on competing platforms and services, changes the terms and the timing of access to its contents and makes some of them exclusive.
The commission’s vote ended up with three members in favor of the bloc and one against (that of Christine S. Wilson). The minutes of the meeting in which the sensational provision was decided will be published soon.
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