MADRID, 9 Dic. (EUROPA PRESS) -
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) of the United States has filed a formal lawsuit in order to block the acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft, an operation valued at 69,000 million dollars (65,756 million euros), considering that it could harm the competition, since the manufacturer of Xbox would obtain control of video game franchises such as 'Call of Duty' or 'World of Warcraft'.
In its lawsuit to stop the biggest purchase in Microsoft's history, the US regulator points to Microsoft's history of acquiring and using valuable game content to suppress competition from rival game consoles.
In this sense, the FTC recalls that after the acquisition of ZeniMax, parent company of Bethesda Softworks, the Redmond giant decided to make several of the titles of this video game developer exclusive to Microsoft, despite the guarantees given to the European antitrust authorities. .
"Microsoft has already shown that it can and will withhold content from its gaming rivals," said Holly Vedova, director of the FTC's Office of Competition. "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," she added.
The US regulator underlines that Activision is one of the few video game developers that create and publish high-quality video games for multiple devices, including video game consoles, PCs and mobile devices, with millions of monthly active users around the world.
However, for the FTC this could change if the purchase agreement with Microsoft were allowed to go ahead considering that, with control of the Activision franchises, the technological multinational would have both the means and the motive to harm the competition by manipulating the Activision's pricing, degrading Activision's game quality or player experience on rival gaming consoles and services, or withholding competitor's content entirely, which would result in harm to consumers.
"We continue to believe that this agreement will broaden competition and create more opportunities for gamers and game developers," said Microsoft President Brad Smith, according to Bloomberg. "We have full confidence in our case and appreciate the opportunity to present it in court," he added.
On his side, in a letter, the CEO of Activision Blizzard, Bobby Kotick, assured the company's employees that he is confident that the deal will be closed.
"The allegations that this deal is anti-competitive do not align with the facts, and we believe we will win this challenge," Kotick said.
At the beginning of the year, Microsoft reached an agreement to buy the publisher and developer of video games Activision Blizzard for 68,700 million dollars (65,470 million euros), which would transform the company led by Satya Nadella into the third largest in the video game sector. video games worldwide, only behind Tencent and Sony.
In 2020, Microsoft also announced the purchase of ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks, one of the world's largest private video game developers and publishers, for $7.5 billion (7.147 billion euros).