Microsoft’s proposed $69bn acquisition of Activision Blizzard is hardly going smoothly. Although, the company might have expected some pushback considering how the merger could transform the gaming industry. In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has brought a lawsuit against the company to block the deal.
Microsoft is now defending itself in that case. One of the main concerns from regulators in the US, UK, and Europe – as well as Sony – has been what Microsoft plans to do with major Activision franchises, most notably Call of Duty.
Sony believes Microsoft wants to make Call of Duty and brands such as Candy Crush and Warcraft exclusive to its Xbox Game Pass service. Microsoft has repeatedly said that is not its intention and has told the FTC that buying Activision Blizzard would actually benefit the gaming industry, especially consumers.
“The acquisition of a single game by the third-place console manufacturer cannot upend a highly competitive industry. That is particularly so when the manufacturer has made clear it will not withhold the game,” Microsoft said a filing last Thursday.
Microsoft has repeatedly said it intends to maintain Call of Duty as a cross-platform franchise. To emphasize the commitments, the company struck a 10-year licensing deal with Nintendo to keep the game on Switch and upcoming consoles.
According to Microsoft, a similar proposal is in place for Sony but the company does not want to sign it. The PlayStation company has said Call of Duty is a fundamental game for the platform and seems to want to thwart Microsoft’s acquisition entirely.
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