DecryptedTech

Friday19 August 2022

Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard Deal to be Reviewed by the FTC


Reading time is around minutes.

Yesterday we talked about Microsoft’s plans to buy Activision Blizard as well as Sony’ plans to buy Bungie. We covered what these could mean in terms of content control and splitting console ownership into what titles people like. Although both Microsoft and Sony are committed to releasing content for both consoles, once the existing contracts run out, things could be very different. Because of this potential monopoly of content by the Activision Blizzard deal, the FTC is going to take look at it.

The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) is one of many regulatory bodies in the US government. We usually do not hear much out of them when big acquisitions happen as they either do not weigh in on them or they seem to rubber stamp them and things proceed. More often we see the DoJ (Department of Justice) look at things from a legal perspective (does it violate current monopoly laws). In the entertainment industry, even this tends to just be a formality as companies gobble each other up and form massive media conglomerates (that control a lot of what we consume).

In the case of the Microsoft the new FTC director wants to ensure that this does not create an unfair environment for consumers. This is one of the things that Linda Khan has made clear through previous statements especially concerning “big tech”. This type of scrutiny is long overdue as we have seen these groups (especially the content groups) have a huge impact on how we communicate and the availability of services and items. The acquisition of YouTube by Ad Company Google is one that should have gotten a better review for starters.

Of course now that we are in a world where Meta (and their Metaverse) is a fact, this could be a very belated attempt to curtail some of this. It could, but in all honesty, I do not think it will be. I have a feeling that this is going to be an attempt to appear to be doing something to curb this type of acquisition. We will see more articles about the review, but in the end it will go through. Microsoft wants the deal done by Q4 of this year (2022), but with the review it is likely to push it back into 2023 at the worst. We also fully expect there to be many more acquisitions over the next few months (possibly EA is next).

Last modified on Wednesday, 02 February 2022 10:30

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