Gamers File Lawsuit In Attempt to Stop Microsoft x Activision Merger
Microsoft’s lawyers are busier than ever as the heat continues against the ongoing effort to acquire Activision Blizzard. Since announcing the plans to roll out a $69 billion merger and pick up Activision Blizzard and all subsidiaries, Microsoft has been under the microscope, being scrutinised by courts, regulators, and the general public. Now, it has been revealed that a group of ten gamers in the United States have filed a lawsuit against Microsoft in an effort to bring down the merger.
Reportedly, the lawsuit, which was filed in the Northern District of California, states that if the merger should go ahead, it’ll have catastrophic implications for the gaming industry. In one line, it states that Microsoft will have the power “to foreclose rivals, limit output, reduce consumer choice, raise prices, and further inhibit competition.” At the core of these concerns is the very legitimate worry that Microsoft will be one step closer to monopolising gaming.
Another Lawsuit in the Mix
On Tuesday 20th of December, a group of headstrong and determined gamers filed their lawsuit against Microsoft, naming the Redmond-based firm as the sole defendant. At the heart of the filing, it was explained that:
‘Microsoft already controls one of the industry’s most popular and largest video game ecosystems. The proposed acquisition would give Microsoft an unrivaled position in the gaming industry, leaving it with the greatest number of must-have games and iconic franchises.’
For months, Microsoft has been lobbying against claims of monopolisation, stating explicitly that it intends to ‘create more opportunities for games and game developers’, and not limit them. However, that statement comes two years after the near-$8 billion acquisition of Zenimax, which brought a host of studios (including Bethesda Game Studios) under Microsoft’s umbrella. Since then, Microsoft (and Xbox) have all but confirmed that Zenimax’s future releases will be Xbox-exclusive.
Recently, the FTC attempted to sue Microsoft to block the acquisition of Activision Blizzard, and an EU Commission assembled a survey aimed at developers, publishers, and distributors in the business. At the heart of this survey (or questionnaire) was the mission to determine just how disruptive and impactful the merger would be, should it go ahead successfully.
With fears that Microsoft would make Call of Duty an Xbox-exclusive franchise, fans, critics, industry experts, and everybody in between are up in arms. While it would be a huge win for Microsoft and for the Xbox ecosystem, it’s a step towards domination and monopolisation that would suck dry any industry competition.
Not only that, but it would likely kick off a chain of events, with big-bucks tech firms like Sony moving to acquire as many studios as possible in retaliation.
For more Activision news, check out our report on the COO of the company leaving to join the rise of the metaverse.