Microsoft is absolutely not certain to win the battle of regulators, in the United States as in Europe, which will allow 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 Crush). The publisher of Windows, and also creator of the Xbox, wants to carry out a merger at more than 68 billion dollars! Given the weight of the two entities in the video game sector, it was almost mandatory for regulators to look into the matter.
Fears for competition
In the United States, this acquisition project motivated a complaint from the FTC (Federal Trace Commission), the organization in charge of competition issues. She simply wants the transaction to fail. The FTC seeks to prevent Microsoft from obliterating the competition, especially on game streaming. Once Activision absorbed, the Xbox Game Pass could indeed be unsurpassable.
And the problems are far from over for Microsoft, since in Europe too, one wonders about the merits of this acquisition. At the beginning of November, the European Commission launched an in-depth investigation into the operation, which could cause it to derail… Or at least delay it for several 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 lawsuit filed in California. The plaintiffs fear in particular that Microsoft will abandon call of duty on PlayStation, though the company is committed to continuing development of the flagship FPS on Sony’s console (and even Nintendo’s Switch).
Players are also worried that Microsoft will refuse to make games on Mac once the acquisition is validated. It is not certain that American justice will accept 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 not only benefit its shareholders, but also to players.