The Holidays are just days away, but before everyone takes a well-deserved break prior to 2023, Microsoft has responded to the FTC regarding the contentious Activision Blizzard purchase.
Microsoft has published its response to the FTC’s lawsuit regarding the Activision Blizzard acquisition. Similar to Microsoft’s response to the UK’s CMA. The gloves are now seemingly off as Microsoft has pointed out that Sony has been adding “exclusion” terms on deals for third-party games on Playstation for years. This includes titles like Final Fantasy 7 Remake, Final Fantasy 16, Silent Hill 2 Remake, and From Software’s Bloodborne, which will most likely never see the light of day on an Xbox console.
According to Microsoft:
“In addition to having outright exclusive content, Sony has also entered into arrangements with third-party publishers which require the “exclusion” of Xbox from the set of platforms these publishers can distribute their games on. Some prominent examples of these agreements include Final Fantasy VII Remake (Square Enix), Bloodborne (From Software), the upcoming Final Fantasy XVI (Square Enix) and the recently announced Silent Hill 2 remastered (Bloober team).”Microsoft
It’s odd that the FTC as well as the CMA have taken the position of protecting Sony, which is the market leader, and have been adding exclusionary terms in contracts with third-party publishers, blocking popular titles from appearing on competing platforms. That seems anti-competitive to me, but not to the FTC and CMA apparently.
All in all, it appears that Microsoft is preparing to build a case and fight this in court if the FTC and CMA attempt to block the deal. According to the terms of the merger, Microsoft would owe Activision Blizzard $2 to $3 billion if the deal is blocked by regulators. So it is pretty safe to assume that Microsoft is not just going to give up.