The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has filed a lawsuit to block the purchase of leading video game developer Activision Blizzard and its video games, including Call of Duty, by technology giant Microsoft. The US watchdog alleges the $69 billion deal, the biggest ever for Microsoft and the biggest ever in the video game industry, would allow the tech giant to suppress competitors from its Xbox game consoles and its subscription content business. and cloud gaming, which is growing rapidly.
In a lawsuit published Thursday, the FTC points to Microsoft’s history of acquiring and using valuable game content to suppress competition from rival consoles, including its acquisition of ZeniMax, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks (a well-known game developer). Microsoft decided to make several Bethesda titles, such as Starfield and Redfall, Microsoft exclusives, despite having assured European antitrust authorities that it had no incentive to withhold games from rival consoles.
“Microsoft has already shown that it can and will retain content from its rivals in the video game industry,” Holly Vedova, director of the FTC’s Office of Competition, said in a statement. “Today we seek to prevent Microsoft from taking control of a major independent game studio and using it to undermine competition in multiple fast-growing and dynamic gaming markets.”
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