US sues to block Microsoft’s successful purchase of gaming giant Activision – Digital Journal

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Microsoft says ‘Call of Duty’ will be available on Nintendo Switch if the acquisition of developer Activision Blizzard goes through. — © AFP

On Thursday, the US Federal Trade Commission filed a lawsuit to block Microsoft’s $69 billion purchase of gaming giant Activision Blizzard, maker of the hit title “Call of Duty,” over fears to stifle competition.

The lawsuit marks one of the largest interventions by the US government to stop consolidation in the technology industry and raises significant doubts about the future of the transaction.

“Today we seek to prevent Microsoft from gaining control of a leading independent game studio and using it to harm competition in multiple fast-growing and dynamic gaming markets,” said Holly Vedova, director of the FTC’s Office of Competition.

Washington’s move follows an intervention by the European Union, which opened an in-depth investigation into the transaction over concerns the deal would make popular Activision Blizzard games exclusive to Microsoft, the maker of the Xbox console. .

Britain has also announced an “in-depth investigation” into Microsoft’s planned acquisition of Activision, which also produces the “Candy Crush” mobile game.

In January, Microsoft, which also makes its own games for PCs and mobile devices, announced the acquisition that would create the world’s third-biggest games company by revenue.

The FTC said Microsoft had a proven track record of buying smaller game companies just to make games exclusive to Microsoft and therefore inaccessible to rivals like Nintendo or Sony.

The US Federal Trade Commission wants to block Microsoft’s $69 billion purchase of gaming giant Activision Blizzard, creator of the hit title “Call of Duty” – Copyright AFP CHRISTOF STACHE

Microsoft had taken steps earlier this week to address concerns by announcing it was bringing the “Call of Duty” franchise to Nintendo Switch, an Xbox rival. This followed an earlier decision to make “Call of Duty” available on Sony’s PlayStation.

“We continue to believe that this agreement will broaden competition and create more opportunities for gamers and game developers,” Microsoft Chairman Brad Smith said in a statement.

“While we believe in giving peace a chance, we have full confidence in our case and welcome the opportunity to present our case in court.”

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