#Antitrust Concerns Over #Microsoft's #Activision $69 billion acquisition 

#Antitrust Concerns Over #Microsoft's #Activision $69 billion acquisition 


Microsofts Activision Blizzard deal

#Antitrust Concerns Over #Microsoft's #Activision $69 billion acquisition 

Microsoft's $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard has caused alarm among gamers and industry insiders, as it could give Xbox too much power and hinder competition in the video game market.

Microsoft is bracing for a potential rejection at an upcoming meeting with European regulators, according to Reuters. This will be their "last-ditch effort" in an attempt to salvage the deal.

What will the deal mean for gamers?

Microsoft is in the process of acquiring Activision Blizzard in what could be the largest gaming acquisition ever. But this deal has caught the attention of antitrust regulators around the world, prompting some concerns about whether it will have an adverse effect on consumers.

Regulators strive to guarantee that such deals don't hinder competition, providing customers with fewer choices or higher prices, and decreasing innovation within the games industry. Examining these matters is a complex process involving numerous government organizations from around the world.

One such agency, the US Federal Trade Commission, has filed a complaint against Microsoft in an effort to block their merger. They claim Microsoft would gain an unfair competitive advantage by taking over Activision Blizzard - a company known for creating video games like Call of Duty and Overwatch - through acquisition.

Microsoft and Activision were hoping for a June 2023 completion date when an administrative judge at the FTC would hear their complaint, but that date has now been delayed to August 2023 - pushing any potential approval beyond what both companies had hoped for.

Another regulator, the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), has raised questions about this deal. Their preliminary findings indicate that it may result in higher prices, fewer choices or less innovation for gamers in the UK.

There is also concern that the deal could drive more people into virtual social networks like Facebook and lead to an increase in online harassment incidents. This issue has become a major worry for many gamers, so the CMA has called on Microsoft to take measures in order to prevent such issues from arising.

This is especially essential for gamers who have encountered online bullying, harassment and identity theft in the past. According to CMA officials, they had conducted a detailed investigation into the effects of the Microsoft-Activision deal, including site visits and interviews with leaders from both companies as well as an analysis of internal documents and data.

The CMA has now suggested that the deal be blocked unless Microsoft makes concessions that address its concerns. Should this be the case, Microsoft would need to seek a court ruling on the matter which could take some time.

What will it mean for Microsoft?

The biggest deal in gaming history is underway. Microsoft (MSFT) announced their acquisition of Activision Blizzard back in January 2022, with an aim to close by Spring 2023. Unfortunately, several antitrust regulators have blocked the deal from closing and it remains uncertain whether or not it will proceed.

In the short-term, gamers may struggle to comprehend what this means for them. Many are concerned that Activision Blizzard games won't reach other consoles or mobile devices they own.

Microsoft (MSFT) has already made concessions that should allay any fears regarding the deal. They plan to launch major Activision Blizzard games on Game Pass, their subscription gaming service that allows them to be accessed through cloud gaming technology.

If the deal is approved, Microsoft (MSFT) will gain an extensive library of games and developers from Activision, Blizzard and King under its Xbox Game Studios brand. This will give Microsoft an edge in competing with Sony (SONY) and Nintendo (NTDOF), among others, by adding new titles to its ever-expanding library of titles.

Some of these franchises and titles are popular, such as Call of Duty. Others are less well known but still have a dedicated fan base: Crash Bandicoot, Tony Hawk, and Guitar Hero series are some examples.

However, it's difficult to predict how these titles will perform in a world limited to Microsoft's platform. Some may be shelved and rereleased, or even released as mobile titles.

Additionally, lesser-known franchises may make their way onto Game Pass to expand its library. These could include classics like Pitfall and King's Quest as well as throwbacks like HeXen or Interstate '76.

It's possible that some of these games will remain exclusive to Xbox or PC, particularly popular titles such as Call of Duty and Overwatch. This could present issues for gamers who own other consoles or don't own an Xbox and don't wish to pay extra to access their favorite titles.

What will it mean for Activision?

Microsoft (MSFT -0.65%) is in the process of acquiring one of the world's most influential video game companies: Activision Blizzard, creators of successful titles like Call of Duty and Overwatch. If this deal closes successfully, it will be the largest acquisition in gaming history.

Microsoft could become the third-largest gaming company globally with this massive buyout. That would place it behind Tencent Holdings, China's leading gaming firm and Sony (SNE -0.25%), which ranks as the top U.S. gaming company based on revenue.

Microsoft could gain a major edge in the rapidly developing cloud gaming industry, where gamers can stream games from one service to another. Nonetheless, this deal faces intense scrutiny from regulators around the world.

The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is currently conducting an investigation into the deal that is expected to conclude by January 2022. They are focused on two primary concerns: cloud gaming potential and exclusivity restrictions.

1. The CMA is concerned that Microsoft may use its extensive game library to make Activision games exclusive or unavailable on Microsoft's own cloud gaming service, possibly under adverse conditions. This could negatively impact competition between Xbox and PlayStation in the UK, according to the CMA.

2. The FTC is concerned that the acquisition will restrict consumer choice and innovation. This anxiety stems from the fact that many top video game studios offer their games across various platforms, such as PCs and consoles.

3. Microsoft's acquisition of Game Pass will enhance their subscription service, giving users access to over a dozen blockbuster titles with just one subscription fee. This means Xbox owners can now enjoy more high-demand titles on a monthly basis - an enormous benefit for gamers everywhere!

4. Once the acquisition is finalized, Phil Spencer will become the new Head of Xbox and oversee Activision Blizzard.

5. Microsoft's acquisition of Activision will give them access to even more developers and games for their Xbox platform, further strengthening its position within the gaming industry. This acquisition should only strengthen Microsoft's position moving forward.

6. This acquisition will also support Microsoft's struggling mobile game business, which had been struggling in recent years.

What will it mean for Blizzard?

Microsoft and gamers alike stand to benefit from this deal, which marks the first time a major video game company has been acquired by another. But there could also be antitrust issues involved as such deals tend to be closely regulated by regulatory bodies in order to protect consumer interests and ensure there's no harm done to competition within the industry.

Consumers and the gaming community are concerned that Microsoft could end up controlling some of the world's most popular video games. Regulators around the world are working hard to prevent this from occurring, as they believe it could lead to fewer choices, higher prices and/or reduced innovation.

In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission filed a formal complaint against the merger that was expected to halt it legally. Regulators claim that Microsoft will benefit consumers and competitors through this merger by becoming the sole console maker capable of offering access to Call of Duty franchise, which is key competition for Sony's PlayStation platform.

Moreover, the FTC expressed concern about Microsoft-Activision Blizzard's deal. They believe it will further cement Windows as the dominant operating system, making it harder for third-party developers to distribute their work across other platforms. Furthermore, UK regulator Competition and Markets Authority expressed its worry that such a transaction could make it more challenging for competitors to provide subscription or cloud streaming services.

Though this deal could be detrimental for gamers with PlayStation, it's essential to remember that this is still in its early stages. While it appears unlikely the deal will be blocked at present, it could take some time before it is fully approved and implemented across the industry.

At present, the best way to protect yourself is by using a third-party service like Game Pass. This subscription option enables players to access all the newest games without paying separately, making it ideal for Activision Blizzard fans who don't own an Xbox.

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