Both Microsoft and Activision have shown determination in the matter of their merger despite the backlash received from both the Federal Trade Commission and a sect of gamers. In its response to the antitrust lawsuit that was filed on December 9 by the FTC, Microsoft has highlighted and graphically represented the fact that they are the third-place console maker holding smaller market share than Nintendo or Sony. “The acquisition of a single game by the third-place console manufacturer cannot upend a highly competitive industry,” argues Microsoft.
The FTC and some gamers feel that Microsoft will gain out-sized power through its acquisition of video game publisher Activision Blizzard. The producers of Xbox might raise the price of the playstation editions unduly or make certain popular games exclusive to Xbox, depriving a large part of the audience converting them eventually into Xbox users.
Spokespersons of both Activision Blizzard and Microsoft have argued that depriving playstation users is not their intention. In fact, should Microsoft decide to make a game like Call of Duty exclusive to Xbox, they’ll end up losing billions in sales.
Microsoft has offered to strike a deal with Sony, the maker of playstation, which will obligate Microsoft to launch new versions of Call of Duty on playstation on the same day as Xbox for the next 10 years. However, Sony has declined the offer.
The lawsuit by the FTC against the $68.9 dollar deal is the biggest government pushback Microsoft has ever faced since being sued over the dominance of Windows in the OS market twenty years ago.
Microsoft president Brad Smith wants to reach a creative solution that protects the consumers’ interest above all. Smith said in an interview with CNBC, “Even with confidence in our case, we remain committed to creative solutions with regulators that will protect competition, consumers, and workers in the tech sector. As we’ve learned from our lawsuits in the past, the door never closes on the opportunity to find an agreement that can benefit everyone.”
Microsoft had acquired a game publisher ZeniMax in 2021. The European Commission had given the NOC after Microsoft assured them that no ZeniMax games would be made exclusive to Xbox. Well, the company announced that some games might be only for Xbox, right after the deal.