Microsoft sued over the Activision Blizzard deal: The US Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint to stop Microsoft from acquiring Activision Blizzard. Microsoft has responded to the lawsuit. Microsoft makes its case in the 37-page document, which you can read below, for why its $68.7 billion acquisition should go through. It also defends its purchase of ZeniMax, the parent company of Bethesda, while acknowledging that it intends to make three upcoming games from the studio exclusive to Xbox and PC.
While the titles of those games aren’t disclosed, Microsoft has essentially stated that The Elder Scrolls VI will only be available on its platforms and that Starfield will be a one-platform-only title.
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Microsoft responds to both the FTC’s general concerns and some of its more specific points in its filing. To portray itself as a relatively weak participant in the gaming industry compared to its rivals, it also features much of the self-deprecation for which Microsoft has recently been known.
The FTC said in its lawsuit that Microsoft would be able to “block competitors to its Xbox gaming consoles and its rapidly expanding subscription content and cloud-gaming business” if it acquired Activision Blizzard. The future of Call of Duty has also been a significant source of worry. Xbox CEO Phil Spencer publicly assured fans that the series would continue on PlayStation for as long as PlayStations were in production. According to Microsoft’s answer to the FTC, Activision’s flagship franchise will be made available to more people on the Nintendo Switch.
Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick spoke in favor of the transaction in a statement to The Verge, saying:
There is no reasonable or justifiable reason why our transaction shouldn’t close. There are common entrance obstacles and fierce competition in our sector. More devices than ever before have been introduced, giving game players a vast selection of options. Both large and small developers can use free engines and tools. There have never been more game distribution choices available. On the merits of the case, we are confident that we will win.
And now for a direct response from Microsoft CEO Brad Smith:
While we are confident in our position, we are also dedicated to working with authorities to find innovative solutions that safeguard tech industry workers, consumers, and competitors. We’ve learned from previous litigation that the possibility of coming to a mutually beneficial deal is always open.