Video Gamers To Indict Microsoft Corp Over Its $68.7 Billion Acquisition Of Activision

Barry Elad

Updated · Dec 22, 2022

Video Gamers To Indict Microsoft Corp Over Its $68.7 Billion Acquisition Of Activision

Microsoft Corp’s prearranged acquisition of “Call of Duty” maker Activision Blizzard Inc., which is worth $68.7 billion has stumbled upon another hurdle, as a group of gamers has defied the deal in court, claiming that the acquisition of Activision will illegally crush the competition in the video game business. In the US, the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914 provides US citizens the right to litigate firms over anticompetitive behavior. Therefore, 10 self-described gamers are using their right to pull Microsoft in court and to stop the company’s purchase of Activision. The complaint filed by these self-described gamers has stated that the plaintiffs or video gamers have major concerns over the Microsoft and Activision merger that might significantly reduce competition.

Complainants have said that the merger will create a monopoly in the video game business. The complaint has stated that the acquisition of Activision, violates Section 7 of the Clayton Act, which says that purchases that reduce competition are banned under the U.S. antitrust law. The complaint has labeled the scale and scope of the acquisition of Activision as illegal. The court plea has branded numerous other Microsoft acquisitions such as the company’s 2014 purchase of Mojang and its purchase of Rare in 2002 as problematic. 

The federal antitrust lawsuit that has been filed in San Francisco has surfaced within fewer than two weeks after the Federal Trade Commission indicted to halt the union between Activision Blizzard Inc. and Microsoft. Activision Blizzard Inc. is one of the world’s leading video game publishers while Microsoft is the maker of the Xbox console. Complainants or video gamers have said that if the merger takes place many large franchises such as AAA gaming, PC, and consoles will fall under the one umbrella of Microsoft Corp.

They have said that at present, Activision Blizzard and Microsoft contest via these titles and services such as Battle.net, the Microsoft Store, and Game Pass, the expected merger between both companies will fully kill the competitive dynamic. The federal antitrust lawsuit has stated that if the merger happens, Microsoft will acquire massive market supremacy and the ability to exclude key inputs from competitors and further curb competition. The planned Microsoft and Activision deal has been stirring many controversies ever since it has been announced. However, tech experts believe that the lawsuit filed by the FTC might be the most worrying for Microsoft.  

The officials from the Federal Trade Commission have alleged that if this merger takes place, it will severely damage the competition in the video game industry, as Microsoft has been pushing to prioritize Xbox and Windows PCs as platforms for its games in the past.  On the other hand, Microsoft has said that with the Activision acquisition, the Call of Duty game will be accessible to more video gamers and more platforms than ever before. While responding to criticisms of its planned acquisition of Activision, Microsoft has promised to continue to bring Call of Duty to other platforms for at least the next 10 years.

Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer has said that Sony’s criticisms of the acquisition are nothing but an attempt to keep its leading position on the console.  The officials of Microsoft have said that the merger will create more prospects for video gamers and game developers.  Microsoft Corp’s prearranged acquisition of Call of Duty maker Activision Blizzard Inc. has also been slapped with antitrust scrutiny in the European Union as well. As per US law, private plaintiffs can follow antitrust claims in the US court even if the same or related US agency case is pending in the court.

Barry Elad
Barry Elad

Barry is a lover of everything technology. Figuring out how the software works and creating content to shed more light on the value it offers users is his favorite pastime. When not evaluating apps or programs, he's busy trying out new healthy recipes, doing yoga, meditating, or taking nature walks with his little one.