The gloves are off as the Federal Trade Commission has announced intent to block Microsoft‘s acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
In a press release, the American agency states its intention to block Microsoft because of its “record of acquiring and using valuable gaming content to suppress competition from rival consoles,” and argues Starfield and Redfall’s console exclusivity is counter to the assurances promised to European anti-trust authorities and that it “had no incentive to withhold games from rival consoles.”
The same press release states that Microsoft’s Xbox would “gain control of top video game franchises,” and because of that “harm competition in high-performance gaming consoles and subscription services by denying or degrading rivals’ access to its popular content.”
At the beginning of the year, Microsoft announced its intention to buy Activision Blizzard for nearly $70 billion. In a tsunami of bad press, Activision Blizzard has since faced severe backlash from the community and industry, dealing with union busting, sexual harassment allegations, unfair wages, and more.
The situation has been a constant talking point this year with Sony being at the precipice of many discussions. Most recently, it was revealed that Microsoft had offered several contracts to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation and even announced Nintendo would see the series return in the future.
As it stands, whether or not Sony agrees to the contacts offered by Microsoft is still undecided.
Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, Microsoft President Brad Smith commented on the situation. “We have been committed since Day One to addressing competition concerns, including by offering earlier this week proposed concessions to the FTC. While we believe in giving peace a chance, we have complete confidence in our case and welcome the opportunity to present it in court.”