Microsoft's Activision Blizzard Deal Will Be Reviewed By The FTC
Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard isn't set in stone yet, as the Federal Trade Commission will be analyzing the proposed takeover for any potential anti-competitive practices.
Microsoft's Xbox division may be busy making certain that its proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard proceeds smoothly, but the deal still has a few legislative barriers to overcome. One of the biggest hurdles in Microsoft's path is the Federal Trade Commission, which will hold an antitrust review of the company's plan to add some of the biggest gaming intellectual properties to its portfolio.
According to a person familiar with the matter and interviewed by Bloomberg, the FTC plans to analyze the takeover and see what impact it will have on its competition. Such matters are sometimes overseen by the Justice Department, although both agencies are responsible for antitrust reviews of mergers.
According to the report, the FTC will investigate Activision's gaming portfolio with Microsoft's consoles and hardware systems to see if the takeover could harm its rivals by cutting off access to some of the biggest games that are released globally. The FTC's authority is only for the US though, and it's likely that other international organizations with similar authority will also need to be won over for the deal to be approved.
Recently, the FTC has stated that it plans to more aggressively police such deals, especially when it concerns the biggest technology companies in the country. FTC Chair Lina Khan has already used the agency's power to block two massive takeovers, particularly Nvidia's plan to buy Arm Ltd. and Lockheed Martin Corp.'s move to buy Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings Inc.
While Microsoft still plans to honor current multiplatform agreements and release several Call of Duty games for the next few years, it remains to be seen if the series becomes an Xbox-exclusive or if it even sticks to an annual release date schedule.
The acquisition of Bethesda was a different story though--not counting previous deals with Deathloop that were honored--as the upcoming Starfield will be a PC and Xbox Series X|S exclusive.