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FTC Seeks to Block Microsoft Corp.’s Acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Inc.

Agency alleges that maker of Xbox would gain control of top video game franchises, enabling it to harm competition in high-performance gaming consoles and subscription services by denying or degrading rivals’ access to its popular content.

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Nyxus60d ago

"In a complaint issued today, the FTC pointed to Microsoft’s record of acquiring and using valuable gaming content to suppress competition from rival consoles, including its acquisition of ZeniMax, parent company of Bethesda Softworks (a well-known game developer). Microsoft decided to make several of Bethesda's titles including Starfield and Redfall Microsoft exclusives despite assurances it had given to European antitrust authorities that it had no incentive to withhold games from rival consoles."

Finally this gets pointed out. Microsoft keeps saying they want to 'bring the games to more players', yet they made the Bethesda games exclusive.

CR7JUVE189760d ago

I will say it until I am blue in the face. No pun intended. Sony have NEVER taken away a multi-platform franchise away from a competitor. Individual titles, such as Street Fighter V, that was funded by Sony? Yes. I fail to see how people don't see the difference here.

shinoff218360d ago

There's a huge difference. Ms fans will not see it though cause it goes against them. Not really goes against them cause they would've been getting the Activision games anyway.

Nintendo
Sony and Microsoft help finance games all the time and get games as exclusives for themselves. Ms is buying it's second publisher meanwhile Sony buys STUDIOS that really only did Sony games to begin with or new ones they have some sort of faith in.

TravsVoid60d ago

Your argument for why Sony is allowed to make third party games exclusive is beyond a joke.

darthv7260d ago

Don't remember much of the Sega Saturn days do ya...?

SoulWarrior60d ago (Edited 60d ago )

It's funny isn't it, the blatant false equivalences.

A handful of timed exclusives = MS are fully justified spending 80 billion on publishers to take away countless multiplatform IPs from the competition most of which have seen consideradably more success on Playstation in the last several years.

All this while ignoring MS still buy timed exclusives constantly as well. but apparently FF16,7R and SF5 (which they funded) is the same as swooping up Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Starfield, Doom, Dishonoured, Wolfenstein, CoD, Overwatch, Diablo, Spyro, Crash and whatever else I'm missing.

I don't agree with 3rd party exclusives at all, but lets not pretent these are even close to being equivalent.

DOMination-60d ago

Sony nearly put Sega out of business in the early 90s by doing exactly that

Nintendo took 15 years to recover

Philips and Panasonic were taken out of the industry. Commodore and Atari were killed.

All because Sony bullied their way into gaming. At that time the industry was still young and niche. Sony were a Behemoth compared to those other companies and used their money to buy up studios, exclusives and huge marketing budgets.

VenomUK60d ago

@Domination. You said "Sony nearly put Sega out of business in the early 90s by doing exactly that. Nintendo took 15 years to recover. Philips and Panasonic were taken out of the industry. Commodore and Atari were killed. All because Sony bullied their way into gaming."

You're remembering things wrong. Sony had nothing to do with the decline of Atari and Commodore. In the UK & Europe their decline was caused by two factors, gamers moving to Sega Megadrive and SNES and the growth of the PC market. By the time the Amiga CD32 console was released in 1993, which was essentially just an A1200 and without any new 3d capabilities, Amiga had significantly lost momentum. PS1 didn't hit the West until 1995. And Philips and Panasonic and the 3DOs failure had nothing to with the success of PlayStation or Sega but the weakness of it as a platform with a unified message.

I'm not genuinely not trying to be an arse but it's worth reading up before sharing incorrect information.

Wulfer60d ago (Edited 60d ago )

And you would be wrong from the start. Look up Spiderman for starters.

https://www.bing.com/search...

This can't be Spiderman is exclusive to Playstation? No it wasn't and it never was just like Final Fantasy. They (Sony) paid to keep the games on Playstation. It's ok its called a gaming market for a reason but don't pretend Sony's so high and mighty developer that never does these deals. Hell it's how they got into gaming by slowly locking exclusives away from Nintendo and Sega. Call a spade a spade and move on MS did the same moves with Bethesda. They needed more sellable IP's so, they bought them. Happens all the time in the gaming market. All parties do it but, Sony isn't use to being out bid. Their usually the dictator not the one making concessions to someone else. That's life, we live in it!

CR7JUVE189760d ago

@Wulfer

Activision let the license expire on Spider Man. Sony didn't take it away from anyone. If MS acquired the license, do you honestly think that would have stayed Multiplatform. Big difference here. Sony did NOT acquire the Spider Man License while it was still an active game entity. Try again

wiz719160d ago

So what happens when Microsoft help find entire studios then ?? What’s happens to that ?? Bethesda was a PC only developer until the original Xbox … Microsoft funds games and still keep them multi platform , I don’t get the fuss for COD anyway. Every year ppl say they never want to buy another one , it’s the same game over and over , the way Sony fans scream about the amazing games PlayStation has but y’all fussing over a supposedly mediocre game. Why can’t Sony come up with another FPS , they have plenty of dormant franchises.

Imalwaysright60d ago

Yes they have and they have been doing it since the PS1 days.

Army_of_Darkness60d ago

As much as I love PlayStation, this topic really disappoints me because it makes Sony look like little b! tches. It's like as if Sony doesn't have faith in themselves if Microsoft acquires Call of Duty like?! so what?! Sony has the best first party developers out there and yet, they're scared shitless because of this Activision acquisition? Like come on Sony! grow some f#cking balls!

BlackTar18760d ago

DOm

You just made almost all of that up.

DarXyde60d ago

Street Fighter V is definitely a different case. My understanding was that SFV would never have happened otherwise because Capcom was in very dire straits.

For acquisitions, Sony is VERY different and Nintendo is in a weird in-between space. Nintendo doesn't do many acquisitions, but they did acquire Monolith who traditionally made PlayStation games. Smaller studio, but it did mandate purchasing Nintendo platforms to play their games. That said, their games have become more popular but are still historically niche. Overall, a fairly innocuous acquisition in my opinion.

Sony has not really been pursuing anti-competitive acquisitions. Blue Point, HouseMarque, and Insomniac made a lot of sense to me: these studios grew with PlayStation, really focusing on PlayStation hardware. It just makes a lot of sense to me. Bungie is the exception because I would have totally expected that to be an Xbox studio and would make more sense as an Xbox studio. Sony stated they would remain independent... But we'll see.

Xbox? They are literally consuming publishers and picking up several studios within at the same time. Playground was comparable to a Sony acquisition and it was fair enough. Don't think anyone took issue with that at all. They grew with Xbox, making Xbox only titles. Just made sense. This is clearly an attempt to get bargaining chips and take a sledgehammer to competitive practice. It blows my mind that there's no difference in the mind of Xbox diehards and they're cheering it on. It's like they don't know who or what Microsoft is. And it comes across to me that this is not a particularly intellectual group of gamers. They don't voice opposition to Microsoft's bullshit and they allow this to perpetuate. This is why their games are like junk food and there's no cohesion within their studios. They just spend money. It is bizarre to me that they can afford to throw money at things with no passion for the outcome.

And for the record, I don't like acquisitions. At all. I would much rather everyone open new studios and if they can appeal to established talent and recruit them, fair enough. No problem with that. That's another way these acquisitions are very different: Sony most times is purchasing the talent, Microsoft is purchasing the brands and IPs. Insomniac, Nixxes, and Blue Point for instance don't really own IPs. I think of those three, they may have acquired 2 (Sunset and Fuse, both of which were commercial failures). Mojang made one very popular game and Microsoft bought them for the name and money that comes with it.

They are not comparable. Full stop. I would have preferred Sony just recruit the employees and form a new studio, personally.

Ank66660d ago

Even Street Fighter decided to go PS4 exclusive coz M$ decided to put Killer Instinct as the forefront in that genre on XBone.
Since that is dead & dusted now(like most of the Xbox first party)
Street Fighter is back on Xbox starting this gen.

S2Killinit60d ago

Some people seem to be equating the purchase of an ENTIRE PUBLISHER to strategic purchase/partnership over individual games

What MS is doing will make gaming a smaller place. That is the whole truth of it. They are taking what everyone would have enjoyed and making it exclusive. Its not right.

60d ago
agnosticgamer60d ago (Edited 60d ago )

FF7R? You said NEVER… they hardly ever do but they have.

Christopher59d ago

***Your argument for why Sony is allowed to make third party games exclusive is beyond a joke.***

Here's your issue, Sony isn't making them third-party games exclusive, the publishers of the games are doing that.

Mr_Writer8559d ago

"Sony have NEVER taken away a multi-platform franchise away from a competitor."

Hmmm Street Fighter might had been multiplat.

However your point is still valid, the point is, Sony funding a game they don't own the IP for is down to the publishers choice, and there would have been nothing stopping MS stepping in.

And that's the point. The publisher can choose to make a deal, and that's where the competition is.

Gamers think it's game library Vs game library that the FTC is calling competition.

It's not, it's say if MS take a publisher off the market, then that reduces the pool of publishers.

The more publishers, the more Sony and MS have to compete to convince those 3rd parties to deal with them.

Activiblizz would have no choice, they would be default exclusive to MS, and the decision would be down to MS, Sony could try and deal with MS, but that isn't competition.

+ Show (16) more repliesLast reply 59d ago
Lifexline60d ago (Edited 60d ago )

Did they ever promise to not keep Bethesda games off rival consoles? Genuine question I never heard of anything like it.

I truly believe they will win and it sucks for Sony because if they do win they have no obligation to keep it multiplatform at that point. But they still haven’t been sued it’s just a formality that they intend to sue. So ms still Can offer concessions in writing and make it legal as oppose to just their word I think that’s what the ftc is seeking a written contract so Sony might still get what they want for call of duty. .But Microsoft has a lot of good defenses I really don’t see how the ftc expects to win. Protecting the market leader who cares how much ms is worth we are talking solely about the gaming market.

rippermcrip60d ago

What does it matter what they promised? The facts are that they are keeping them off. That is the FTC's issue here.

I just said it yesterday... Microsoft promising COD for 10 years... okay? What about the rest of Activision Blizzard? It is the biggest publisher in the world.

shinoff218360d ago

These agencies aren't protecting any one company. Their doing their job. You might not believe it but they are protecting consumers. That's kind of there point of existence. Say what you will

Lifexline60d ago

@shinoff how are they protecting consumers? How will this harm consumers? If that’s the case all companies need to be sued when buying companies because they make their games exclusive Sony has done it they don’t only buy studios who make games for PlayStation systems only they have bought studios who also make games for other systems and now don’t.

The truth of the matter they don’t have any legal standing in the judicial system. What is their argument Microsoft the smallest of all four players will harm the market leaders. The ftc has the burden of proof which they can’t meet. I really want to see what their argument will be. I think they are only doing this to get legally binding concession

Nyxus60d ago

@ Lifexline: Microsoft is not a 'small player'.

Chevalier60d ago (Edited 60d ago )

Wow. Microsoft is a 'small player'?! How so?! They are already ahead of Nintendo in revenue with the purchase of Bethesda alone. They literally leapfrogged Nintendo from 4th to 3rd without actually working for it. Then Microsoft are making Bethesda games exclusives which is FACT.

A nearly $2 trillion company buying whole publishers is a small player?! Thats absolutely 💯 idiotic to think. Does Sony or Nintendo have a huge parent company buying $80 billion in publishers? Which publisher did Nintendo and Playstation purchase again?! Oh right none.

Lifexline60d ago

@above the market share does not lie we aren’t talking about office or windows we are talking about Xbox and they are third behind tencent and Sony that’s a fact.

Who cares how much they are worth overall ms in the gaming market is a small player that’s a fact. They are hoping to be bigger with the activision purchase. We are going based on facts. People can’t say MS is a small or big player only when it suits their argument.

Wulfer60d ago (Edited 60d ago )

CR7JUVE1897

Buying a license to a game still locks it up doesn't matter if you own it or not! Spiderman made sense and it was a good move for Sony but, don't think that (Sony) didn't remove a title that was multiplatform. Sony doesn't hide this they want exclusives just own up to it, Sony does. I wanta Play Spiderman or FF I buy a PS system. It's not rocket science. Now you have reason to buy an Xbox. Remember "Xbox has no games" atleast that's what we've been told for two gaming Generations. Well now Xbox has games, and you have reason to buy one it's really simple!

ocelot0760d ago

If I remember correctly Phill said any IPs that has a legacy on other platforms will continue on those platforms.

Since Fallout first released back on the PS2 and Elder Scrolls on the PS3 and Doom and Quake on the PS1. Since those series have a legacy on playstation. Future installments should continue on playstation right?

I can understand Starfield and Redfall they don't have a legacy on playstation as they are new IPs. So making them Xbox and pc only is something that I can't complain about.

But after the whole legacy speach. If Fallout 5 and elder scrolls dont realise on playstation then it's just Phil telling lies again imo.

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shinoff218360d ago (Edited 60d ago )

Exactly. No one was saying this. I was wandering if they get called out on it. They are wolves in sheep's clothing. From ms in the 90s through what they wanted to originally do with the Xbox one. Ms isn't good for gaming. Someone else should take their place

Also makes sense why the eu board is pushing back cause they've already been lied to by ms. Unless ms planned on bringing out to ps or Nintendo after a certain time frame. Timed exclusive. But I doubt it. I'd be alright getting some Bethesda games later on the ps. I know ms owns them but why they lie to the eu board then back then?

darthv7260d ago

...yes please harp on the 'what could have been' with the xbox one. Especially without taking into consideration of who was running things at the time. Both XB and MS corp had different leaders. Things changed for them just like it did for Sony.

No way would Kaz have been spooked by these dealings like Jim has. Its like MS got better leadership while Sony got worse.

darthv7260d ago

I guess i need some clarification. Did MS specifically say those games or were they talking about games that were in process to release? I ask because MS did honor the contracts with the games that were getting ready to release. Anything that was still under development is off the table since taking ownership. As should be the case. So unless it was those specifically... they can't really use that statement as some sort of 'gotcha'.

Games get announced for platforms all the time and then for whatever reason things change. Most recently is that Project Eve game that was announced for XB and PS, only now it seems be just for PS.

Nyxus60d ago

That's an entirely different situation. Sony didn't buy the studio that makes Stellar Blade, and it's just one Korean hack and slash game, not a huge publisher with some of the biggest franchises in the world under its name. Stellar Blade becoming a PlayStation exclusive does nothing to endanger competition.

shinoff218360d ago

Project eve is probably timed exclusive. I'd guess Sony helped with money for development.

It's still the point of them taking multiplatform games away from everyone permanently.

Outside_ofthe_Box60d ago (Edited 60d ago )

You are missing the bigger picture. It's about what you highlighted; "Anything that was still under development is off the table since taking ownership."

At the end of the day, once MS owns Activision, they can do whatever the hell want because they own them.

derek60d ago

@darth, sorry your spinning and rationalization is unconvincing. Those stupid commitments Microsoft cooked up before meeting with the ftc could have been done in advance of announcing their deal with Activision. Just like Sony did with bungie. Shows how clueless Microsoft is and that their plans changed once they figured things weren't going their way. Too much pr, too much talking, Spencer's big mouth got him in and Microsoft in trouble.

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Outside_ofthe_Box60d ago

Finally some good news regarding this.

If this goes through Microsoft will buy 2 more major publishers after this (Ubisoft and Take would be my guess).

ZeniMax was okay seeing as that was the first and at the time assumed to be the only one. After going after Activision though, it's clear that Microsoft is picking them off one by one.

neutralgamer199260d ago

Man absolutely Xbox fans need to understand this damn point. MS bought zenimax and made their games exclusives already. They already bought bunch of smaller studios and than finish it off with buy Bethesda. How about this deal goes through if and if Ms gives in legal writing that none of Activision games will be exclusives for next 25 years and to show they actually care Bethesda games will be made available to PlayStation too

What's stopping them from doing this to other IP's belonging to Activision. In a court MS will lose this case best believe that. Too much evidence against them and they can't play the small guy card

Ms have more resources for Xbox than Nintendo and PlayStation combined times 10

Phil Spencer is all the damn talk. He says he wants more gamers to be able to play yet keep making games exclusives. Also PlayStation getting timed exclusives is not equal to Ms straight out buying publishers

This deal will be denied and the Xbox fans will cry foul without realizing how much harm this deal will do for the long-term of gaming community

darthv7260d ago

okay, the deal doesnt go through. and as a result Activision decides to partner exclusively with MS. MS wont own them, but they can fund them and their projects. What does Sony get out of that deal?

SierraGuy60d ago

@darth that would be a crippling error for Activision as most of their revenue comes from playstation.

It isn't worth it for Microsoft to fight a losing battle against the FTC also they owe Activision $3 billion whether this deal goes through or not.

Kotick will be ousted, COD stays multiplat and a new board of directors come into play.

This looks really bad on Microsoft and Xbox and kotick is in a rush because his lawyers have informed him of the impending doom... consequences of Activision scummy practices all over the news.

Orchard60d ago

@Sierra “ It isn't worth it for Microsoft to fight a losing battle against the FTC”

Meanwhile, back in the real world, Microsoft, who have beaten the FTC before in court, are going to court over it:

https://twitter.com/BradSmi...

neutralgamer199260d ago

They are publicly traded company that makes most of their money from PlayStation so what do you think you guys keep throwing the worst case scenario aspect of it the only reason they are selling is because their executives were harassing people how about that otherwise they wouldn't even need to sell a Microsoft or buying low

Wulfer60d ago

"This deal will be denied and the Xbox fans will cry foul without realizing how much harm this deal will do for the long-term of gaming community"

Question how does this benefit Sony? Do you really think Activision will do business with Sony if they (openly and they are!) try to destroy a deal clearly Activision wanted? Actually, I see Xbox gaining because after Sony's deal is concluded it'll be clear Sony has to go to Activision and Activision will make Sony pay dearly if they really succeed in sabotaging this deal. The other thing you should realize is how many smaller Publishers do you think MS can buy if this deal doesn't go thru? I mean 69 Billion can probably get MS any publisher they want. Actually it might be better to let Activision deal go thru if you want to keep Capcom, Sega heck even Square could be on the list. How you think Nintendo would feel losing COD deal? Does that push MS to try and work with Nintendo again? So many things can happen if this deal goes side ways. Be careful what you ask for you might just get it.

neutralgamer199260d ago

Wulfer

Ms can't simply buy any Japanese publishers please try to do some research and not believe everything in Google. Do you know how rare it is for hostile takeovers from western companies of a company in Japan? And in Japan respect is a huge thing and companies do a lot of business out of respect and relationship

Let me give you an example. A while ago square enix were running into financial issues and needed help so they asked Sony to buy some shares to stop any take over attempts and when things settle down Sony sold the shares back to square

This current Activision management yes they want this deal so they can get their piece of the pie and get out. But Ms are buying Activision at an all time low when it comes to PR

They make so much money from PlayStation alone that if this deal doesn't go through it will be be business as normal. This deal needs to be decided not because Ms are buying Activision but because that's not the future we as gamers should be asking for

Orchard

FTC is just one of the many government agencies around the world standing against this deal. Let's not forget everything going in in Europe

Ms should be happy and lucky they got Bethesda now they need to chill and provide support and resources. I am against all console makers trying to acquire publishers

I know this if this deal goes through

Square enix
Capcom
Sega of Konami

These will be acquired by Sony and I don't think we as gamers want this

Btw what's really weird Sony is a bank in Japan I didn't know that haha 😆

+ Show (3) more repliesLast reply 60d ago
notachance60d ago

I swear xbox fanboys in this site behaved like a cult, 2 freaking generations of overpromise and under-deliver and still they don’t have it in them to criticize xb for even a little bit.
They Just move from one buzz word to the other, cloud power, 180 reverse to best hardware power (tflop am i right), to day-1 gamepass

And then they get upset when the amount of praise and criticism Xbox got in this site isn’t comparable to PS. Helloo, they’re performing much worse and they should get the same amount of accolades? Not exactly a sound logic there is it?

Deathdeliverer60d ago

Wow they nailed them to the wall because of their past lies to get their way. Gamers honestly shouldn’t want this deal. The FTC has literally called Xbox heads full of sh!t.

GamerRN60d ago

What multiplatform game did Microsoft ever take away from competition? Someone named SFV on PlayStation but said it's ok cause they funded it.... What? LoL

Ank66660d ago

Not only Starfield & Redfall which were new titles & had no install base on Playstation.
They pretty much confirmed that Elder Scrolls 6 would be Xbox console exclusive,pretty much shutting out all the userbase who played Skyrim on PS3/4/5.
Which was in 10s of millions

This is exactly what is wrong about M$’s approach as apposed to Sony & Nintendo’s.
They also invest in exclusives but mostly on new or deeply rooted titles that have seen very low or next to none exposure on other platforms.
M$ should be stopped at what they are doing.

S2Killinit60d ago (Edited 60d ago )

“Microsoft decided to make several of Bethesda's titles including Starfield and Redfall Microsoft exclusives despite assurances it had given to European antitrust authorities that it had no incentive to withhold games from rival consoles.”

Honestly this is waked. I hope they stop MS’s corporate scheming. They are doing major damage to gaming by doing this.

60d ago
agnosticgamer60d ago

I thought MS didn’t have exclusives because ALL their 1p games come out on PC.

+ Show (10) more repliesLast reply 59d ago
sparky7760d ago

"Microsoft decided to make several of Bethesda's titles including Starfield and Redfall Microsoft exclusives despite assurances it had given to European antitrust authorities that it had no incentive to withhold games from rival consoles."

If MS said that then it should be blocked, such as stupid thing to promise for Zemimax games when they aren't even that major.

After this I really can't see it going through no way the EU will agree to let it pass.

shinoff218360d ago

Yea they kinda are major. They were high selling aaa games that sold millions. Yep major.

GamerRN60d ago

Jesus the hypocrisy is so thick here!

SierraGuy60d ago

They definitely fuc*ed themselves... weren't they supposed to be smart? 🤓

Gardenia60d ago

They will look into it, but how likely is it that they actually block the acquisition?

darkrider60d ago (Edited 60d ago )

Well, microsoft shouldn't have lied with the beteshda games. Now nobody believes in them. They made the content exclusive....

Now everyone understand the news about the 10 year deal with Nintendo and talking to steam. They already understand that the deal is being blocked! And are tryng everything.

What is written there is exactly what everybody told, except one side...

Orchard60d ago

Technically they haven’t yet… every Zenimax game released under MS has been a PlayStation exclusive 😝

That’ll change with Starfield though.

shinoff218360d ago

Lol. Your right for now orchard

Relientk7760d ago

Deathloop is like "Am I a joke to you?"

GamerRN60d ago

They haven't broken any promises. They stated every franchise that was already multiplatform will stay that way, and that is still true today.

Sonic188160d ago

Starfield is going to be the most overrated game this generation

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TravsVoid60d ago

Microsoft doesn't make exclusives anymore, all of them are available on PC and streamable through mobile devices.

shinoff218360d ago

It's not the point and you know it. Try and take the play dumb route all you want. The casuals who make cod a huge series aren't playing on PC

Chevalier60d ago

And yet the biggest body of COD players making them money is on console. So your point about PC gaming is moot.

https://activeplayer.io/cod...

Literally 70% of players on console

TheLigX60d ago

On windows which is owned by…. Microsoft.

porkChop60d ago

They didn't lie about Bethesda's games being exclusive. They said that they would honor all existing agreements (Deathloop, Ghostwire: Tokyo) and that legacy games (remasters, existing/released games) would remain multiplatform. They've kept their word on both things. The only thing they said regarding *new* games from Bethesda was that whether a game was exclusive or not would be considered on a game-by-game basis. Like with Ori going to Nintendo Switch because it just made sense.

Nyxus60d ago

Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VI were already announced before MS purchased Bethesda. But aside from that, wasn't their goal to bring the games to more players? So why make it exclusive then?