The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has reportedly filed a lawsuit against Xbox manufacturer Microsoft to block their acquisition of video game publisher Activision-Blizzard.
According to The New York Times, the FTC believes that the Microsoft acquisition would harm consumers and the larger gaming industry. This is because owning large blockbuster IPs like Call of Duty would give Xbox too big of an advantage over competitors, an argument that PlayStation has also used against Microsoft over their potential ownership of Call of Duty.
“Microsoft has already shown that it can and will withhold content from its gaming rivals,” said Holly Vedova, director of the F.T.C.’s Bureau of Competition, in a statement. “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.”
At $69 Billion USD, the Microsoft acquisition of Activision-Blizzard will be the largest consumer technology deal since AOL bought Time Warner in 2000.
Microsoft’s president Brad Smith, has made his own statement about the lawsuit saying that the company will continue to fight for the Acquisition.
“We continue to believe that this deal will expand competition and create more opportunities for gamers and game developers. We have been committed since day one to addressing competition concerns, including by offering earlier this week proposed concessions to the F.T.C. While we believed in giving peace a chance, we have complete confidence in our case and welcome the opportunity to present our case in court.”
The FTC is just one of 16 regulators around the world investigating the Activision-Blizzard buyout. Microsoft has previously stated that it will continue to allow Call of Duty to appear on Non-Microsoft platforms and that it would allow for healthy continue as PlayStation and Nintendo would still have a higher market share than Xbox.