May 26, 2024

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Starfield, Redfall Exclusivity 'Strong Evidence' Against Xbox's Activision Buyout, FTC Claims

Starfield, Redfall Exclusivity ‘Strong Evidence’ Against Xbox’s Activision Buyout, FTC Claims

Photo: Push Square

We’re on the cusp of corporate pettiness, so sit back and brace yourselves, because the Federal Trade Commission’s attempt to stop Microsoft’s incomprehensible $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard is about to begin. A number of high-profile witnesses have been called for comment, including PlayStation’s Jim Ryan.

And in the new, Mostly revised documentsThe Federal Trade Commission appears ready to argue that Xbox’s decision to make Bethesda titles like Starfield and Redfall The exclusive is “strong evidence of incentive for foreclosures.” In other words, the US regulator will claim that the Redmond manufacturer may try to take Activision Blizzard games away from PlayStation as well.

As she sums it up: “Microsoft’s actions following its 2021 acquisition of Zenimax speak louder than the defendants’ words. The defendants place a great deal of weight in Microsoft’s concerns about “angering gamers” if it would block competitors’ access to Activision content. But those same concerns were not Zenimax’s decision stalled.”

Of course, the elephant here is Microsoft he have Sony – and many other platform holders – offered a contract that promised to keep Call of Duty games on PlayStation platforms for at least the next 10 years. However, there’s still debate about what might happen after that decade – and also what might happen with other Activision Blizzard properties, like Crash Bandicoot and Diablo.

The FTC’s case differs slightly from the pending appeal against the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority, with the latter blocking the deal on grounds of cloud gaming concerns. This case is scheduled for review on July 24, which means we have over a month of corporate courtroom drama to look forward to. Yay?

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