by Brett Rowland
The Federal Trade Commission filed suit Thursday against Microsoft Corp. to block it from acquiring Activision Blizzard Inc., publisher of the “Call of Duty” games.
The FTC alleges the largest acquisition in the video gaming industry would allow Microsoft to suppress competitors to its Xbox gaming consoles and its subscription content and cloud-gaming business.
“Microsoft has already shown that it can and will withhold content from its gaming rivals,” FTC Bureau of Competition Director Holly Vedova said in a statement. “Today we seek to stop Microsoft from gaining control over a leading independent game studio and using it to harm competition in multiple dynamic and fast-growing gaming markets.”
If Microsoft had control over Activision’s franchises, the Redmond, Washington, company “would have both the means and motive to harm competition by manipulating Activision’s pricing, degrading Activision’s game quality or player experience on rival consoles and gaming services, changing the terms and timing of access to Activision’s content, or withholding content from competitors entirely, resulting in harm to consumers,” according to a news release.
“We continue to believe that this deal will expand competition and create more opportunities for gamers and game developers,” Microsoft Vice Chair and President Brad Smith said in a statement. “We have been committed since Day One to addressing competition concerns, including by offering earlier this week proposed concessions to the FTC. While we believed in giving peace a chance, we have complete confidence in our case and welcome the opportunity to present our case in court.”
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Brett Rowland is an award-winning journalist who has worked as an editor and reporter in newsrooms in Illinois and Wisconsin. He is an investigative reporter for The Center Square.
Photo “Microsoft” by Wonderlane. CC BY 2.0.