Nintendo of America is making moves to excuse themselves out of being involved in the FTC’s lawsuit to block the Microsoft-Activision deal.
Florian Mueller shares this update in the course of following this case:
“#Nintendo of America’s Senior VP for Publisher and Developer Relations, Steve Singer, has filed a motion to quash the #FTC’s subpoena.
He’s “responsible for NOA’s relationships with third-party game publishers and developers such as #Microsoft and #Activision.”
Initially the #FTC wanted to find out about #Nintendo’s potential concerns about #Microsoft-#ActivisionBlizzard. Apparently the focus then shifted to Nintendo’s 10-year deal with Microsoft. Suggests to me the FTC is worried about how those contracts weaken its “case”.”
Nintendo’s motion to quash isn’t going to stop FTC’s lawsuit vs the deal. Instead, Nintendo’s actions, via their representative Steve Singer, is intended to get themselves out of getting involved in the lawsuit at all.
While Nintendo is a major player in the console space, and a part of the video game console market if you don’t limit your definition to high-end consoles, it’s not really directly involved in the Microsoft-Activision deal. And by that, I mean, of course, that Nintendo is neither owned or an owner of Microsoft or Activision Blizzard King.
FTC’s hopes to get Nintendo involved further would put the company in an unusual bind. On one end, most gamers see Nintendo and Microsoft as competitors. Of course, on another level, Nintendo and Microsoft have done business plenty of times. Most recently, they did come together to make the recent, seemingly impossible, rerelease of GoldenEye 007 on their respective platforms happen.
Many people take this for granted, but Microsoft themselves are also a publisher on Nintendo’s platform, for Ori and the Black Forest. To make things extra awkward, Sony is also a publisher on the Nintendo Switch, for the MLB baseball game series. And even Valve has published their games on the platform, namely Portal Companion Collection. And of course there’s Epic’s Fortnite.
Of course, the FTC’s interest in talking to Nintendo is in regards to the ten year contract they signed with Microsoft for future Call of Duty games. But if the FTC hopes to poke holes at Microsoft’s arguments by weaponizing Nintendo, Nintendo just doesn’t want to get involved in any of it.
Florian explains further in some follow up tweets responding to a follower’s questions:
“I would assume the FTC has the contract already but they want to ask more and more questions in hopes of being able to call the relevance of that agreement into question. FTC is losing and grasping at straws.
The #FTC subpoena that the #Nintendo developer relations exec is fighting is a “subpoena ad testificandum”, meaning the FTC wants to keep quizzing him and he says it’s too late because the #Microsoft-Nintendo agreement was announced on December 6, they should have asked earlier.”
We had just reported about FTC chair Lina Khan getting a grilling in a US House Committee session. There, she was questioned on why she sided with Sony over Microsoft on the Activision deal.
Nintendo’s actions reflect the ongoing distrust the public currently has over the FTC, and it would seem, they don’t expect the lawsuit to succeed.