The United States’ consumer watchdogs, the Federal Trade Commission, are considering filing a lawsuit against Microsoft over the company’s proposed $68.7 billion (£57 billion) buyout of Activision Blizzard. US newspaper Politico report that three anonymous sources with knowledge of the potential antitrust lawsuit have claimed it could happen in December, although any such lawsuit isn't guaranteed. The four FTC commissioners haven’t voted to decide on a complaint yet, and haven’t met with Microsoft or Activision Blizzard lawyers, two of the sources said.
Similarly to UK and EU competition regulators, the FTC is investigating Microsoft’s intended acquisition of Activision Blizzard out of concern that the deal could be damaging to competition and consumer choice within the game industry. The European Commission announced earlier this month that they’d deepen their investigation into the potential buyout, citing the possibility of Microsoft cutting off competitors’ access to Activision Blizzard’s popular games, such as the Call Of Duty series.
Over here in the UK, the Competition And Markets Authority is continuing with the second phase of their investigation into the buyout. This week, they published statements from both Microsoft and competitor Sony, first submitted last month but now available for public perusal. In their statement, Sony claimed Microsoft could use their ownership of Activision Blizzard to raise prices for games and the Game Pass subscription service, and reduce innovation and quality in the industry. Presumably they forgot about raising their own game prices to $70 and bumping up the cost of PS5.
I’ll continue to bring you more on Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard as things develop. It would seem the consolidation of the games industry is starting to look a wee bit more complicated.
Activision Blizzard are currently the subject of a number of legal actions, labour disputes and allegations of workplace harassment. Rock Paper Shotgun will continue to write about these issues, as well as covering Activision Blizzard games as part of our commitment to cover subjects of interest to our readers. The latest news can always be found under our Activision Blizzard tag.