A new report of Politics (opens in new tab) says the United States Federal Trade Commission will “likely” file an antitrust lawsuit to prevent Microsoft from taking its acquisition of Activision Blizzard (opens in new tab). This is according to sources with insider knowledge of the FTC’s activities, who say FTC research staff are “skeptical” of the companies’ arguments.
Likely doesn’t mean guaranteed, though, and the FTC commissioners haven’t met with lawyers from Microsoft and Activision nor voted on a formal complaint. The FTC declined to comment on Politico’s report.
The FTC, under current chair Lina Khan, has vowed to crack down on M&A by already big tech companies, proving it by getting involved in Nvidia’s failed attempt to buy ARM. The FTC has launched an investigation into the deal between Microsoft and Activision earlier this year when it was announced.
Microsoft’s potential acquisition of Activision has been arguably the hottest topic in gaming news this year, and depending on who you listen to, it could represent either a seismic shift in the way video games do business or a relatively minor change in power between the three major game console makers. . However, an FTC lawsuit would be huge and cause the deal to take significantly longer — if at all — to close while putting those arguments to the test.
Microsoft’s lawyers have argued broadly that a single game series cannot make or break a game console, while Sony’s recently stated to the UK competition authority that the competing franchise Battlefield “can’t keep up” (opens in new tab) with Activision’s Call of Duty.
Also recently came out that Microsoft Sony a Agreement of 10 years (opens in new tab) guarantee that Call of Duty would appear on PlayStation consoles. At worst, that would give Sony a pretty long runway to develop a true Call of Duty competitor of its own, but Sony hasn’t had much to say about that publicly.
You can read the full report on the possibility of an FTC lawsuit on Politics. (opens in new tab)