Given all the hustle and bustle surrounding the buyout of Activision Blizzard, you might think that this is “all bluster” with nothing to back it up. After all, the heads of Microsoft have been very confident that their $69 million purchase of the gaming giant would go through without too much issue. But, if they felt that way, they’re about to get hit with a dose of reality. Because a new report from Politico, a very well-respected site, has said that the Federal Trade Commission, aka the FTC, is likely to throw a monkey wrench in their plans. How? They will file a lawsuit against the buyout, specifically, an Anti-Trust lawsuit.
At present, there is no official action by the FTC. An investigation of the deal is going on, and as a result, things are still up in the air. However, those close to the situation feel that the FTC “aren’t buying” what Microsoft is selling in terms of this not being a move that will elevate them far above the competition. Of course, that “competition” would be Sony and Nintendo.
To recap, Xbox is trying to gain control over Activision Blizzard so it can have its IP library, one which contains major moneymakers like Call of Duty, Candy Crush, and more. When the deal was starting its process, Jim Ryan of Sony tried to bring attention to the deal by noting how they could restrict the release of properties like Call of Duty, make it exclusive to the Xbox systems, and gain a monopoly of sorts on one of the most popular video game properties around.
Phil Spencer and others close to the situation for Xbox have repeatedly denied that they would restrict the release of the titles. But Jim Ryan was right that they could if they wanted to do that. Spencer and crew have fired back by saying Ryan and Sony are acting on their “own self-interests” and not for the “benefit of the gaming community.”
Should the FTC intervene and make this an official lawsuit, the deal would basically be dead, which would be a huge blow to Microsoft, given that this was their “masterstroke” move to help improve their library of titles. Plus, they want to get into the mobile market more, which the Activision Blizzard deal could’ve helped.
Where this situation will go is anyone’s guess, so we’ll have to stay tuned. But no matter what side wins, that means one side will lose, and they’re going to make noise about it.