FTC sues to stop Microsoft's planned Activision Blizzard takeover
The planned $69 billion acquisition of Call of Duty publisher Activision Blizzard would enable Microsoft to "suppress competitors to its Xbox gaming consoles and its rapidly growing subscription content and cloud-gaming business," the FTC alleged.
The suit comes as regulators with Britain's Competition and Markets Authority and the European Commission continue to evaluate the deal.
The FTC pointed to Microsoft's record of acquiring and using valuable gaming content to suppress competition from rival consoles, including its acquisition of ZeniMax, parent company of Bethesda Softworks.
The agency said that Microsoft decided to make several of Bethesda's titles including Starfield and Redfall Microsoft exclusives, despite assurances it had given to European antitrust authorities that it had no incentive to withhold games from rival consoles.
"Microsoft has already shown that it can and will withhold content from its gaming rivals," said director of the FTC's bureau of competition Holly Vedova.
"Today we seek to stop Microsoft from gaining control over a leading independent game studio and using it to harm competition in multiple dynamic and fast-growing gaming markets."
The deal, which Microsoft announced in January 2022, would make the tech giant the third-largest gaming company in the world by revenue behind Tencent and Sony.
Activision produces some of the most popular video game titles, including Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Diablo, and Overwatch.
Cover photo: REUTERS