FTC Seeks to Block Microsoft Corp’s Acquisition of Activision Blizzard

Sonik

Member
I'm actually pleasantly surprised Microsoft's embrace, extend, extinguish strategy isn't working this time.

Ever since they started pretending to be consumer friendly a few years ago I knew that the second stage of huge acquisitions was coming and voila, here it is. If this isn't stopped we'll have another repeat of the OS and other markets Microsoft has ruined with their monopolistic machinations.
 

Thirty7ven

Sony make cringe trainers.
It’s convenient to forget Sony bought studios not publishers, they bought teams not I.P.

Yes they bought Bungie, and that means Destiny. But they also announced them as an independent subsidiary that would keep making multiplatform games.

MS has been buying developers, publishers and above all historical IPs. Those who keep making false equivalences do so in bad faith.
 

elliot5

Member
It’s convenient to forget Sony bought studios not publishers, they bought teams not I.P.

Yes they bought Bungie, and that means Destiny. But they also announced them as an independent subsidiary that would keep making multiplatform games.

MS has been buying developers, publishers and above all historical IPs. Those who keep making false equivalences do so in bad faith.
for how long? Nothing legally binding unlike a 10 year contract.

They bought Bungie for their expertise in live service games. That talent will be pulled in for exclusive live service games, too, from Sony. Just like how Bluepoint was bought to not just work on games like Demon's Souls, but to support other studios like SSM.
 
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Menzies

Banned
Recognizing submarkets exist is not a bad look.
Even for their own detriment?

They're happy to narrow markets to sub-markets to further create risks of monopolies, yet by their own determination to be extraordinarily granular, they have also created them by positioning Nintendo out on its' own(?).

So why the hyper-sensitivity and concern about the "high-performance, serious gamer"/consoles sub-market with Microsoft and Sony, where there is competition and serious competition for Microsoft; -

All whilst, they freely acknowledge and accept Nintendo in a field of their own with no competition in their sub-market isn't a problem?
 
Even for their own detriment?

They're happy to narrow markets to sub-markets to further create risks of monopolies, yet by their own determination to be extraordinarily granular, they have also created them by positioning Nintendo out on its' own(?).

So why the hyper-sensitivity and concern about the "high-performance, serious gamer"/consoles sub-market with Microsoft and Sony, where there is competition and serious competition for Microsoft; -

All whilst, they freely acknowledge and accept Nintendo in a field of their own with no competition in their sub-market isn't a problem?
Yup it again shows how nonsensical the high performance console market is. The one with the high performance XSS amazingly. Even in a duopoly MS isn't the market leader so where is the monopoly fear coming from? Perhaps they should put a MS in a market all alone then it would be the monopoly so many fear. Nintendo's monopoly is also a major concern. Regulators need to do something!
 

Thirty7ven

Sony make cringe trainers.
for how long? Nothing legally binding unlike a 10 year contract.

You can try gotcha all you want. Independent subsidiary with Bungie and Sony committing openly to multiplatform and the key here is that as long as Bungie wants multiplatform Sony won’t stand in its way.

Also you’re talking about a purchase half the size of Zenimax, with only one relevant and active IP.

Again I say, you want false equivalence and bad faith arguments? Keep at it.
 
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CatLady

Banned
Yup it again shows how nonsensical the high performance console market is. The one with the high performance XSS amazingly. Even in a duopoly MS isn't the market leader so where is the monopoly fear coming from? Perhaps they should put a MS in a market all alone then it would be the monopoly so many fear. Nintendo's monopoly is also a major concern. Regulators need to do something!
Yeah, I think the DoJ should look at opening anticompetitive monopoly suits against both Sony and Nintendo.

The High-Performance video game console market now is a duopoly since the FTC decided to break up the video game console market and kicked Nintendo out due to inadequate pixels and FPS. Sony has over 60% of the High-Performance video game console market now.

Nintendo is just a straight up monopoly with 100% of the Not-High-Performance video game console market. Microsoft and Xbox are the only ones in either of the newly created markets that aren't trending towards a monopoly.
 

Arsic

Member
What’s the back up plan ? Just buy call of duty only or just buy Blizzard and not Activision ?

Could AB slowly sell the IP rights and studios one by one ?
 

wipeout364

Member
I am fine with the deal falling through, but the real tragedy is this means Activision blizzard will likely be moving to Epic/Tencent since the decision has been made to be acquired and they are the ones with the cash to pull it off.

They will likely be looking at merging epic game store and blizzard launcher. I do think Sony are being ridiculous though but they have to try to throw wrenches into the works as it’s their competition.
 

James Sawyer Ford

Gold Member
They got way more to lose because those are the real competitors especially with cloud gaming and gaming subscriptions.

Sony is like that kid that is crying to mommy that the his rich next door neighbor got a bigger and better toy that he could only ever imagine buying.

They don't compete in any cloud gaming or sub markets in any meaningful way, what are you talking about? Google just folded their efforts and FB is scaling back considerably.
 

supernova8

Member
Yeah Sony beat a Nintendo that stuck with cartridges and a Sega that had years of failures prior to PlayStation hitting the market. PlayStation hit the market and almost immediately won a major third party exclusive in Final Fantasy 7 that solidified them as the home for third parties for two generations with PS2 being the most successful console of all time. Elbow grease indeed. Plus they didn't have to deal with the cultural issues MS did with Japan. So an entire country that would not even touch their American competition. Sony had the good fortune of having years of almost no real competition in console gaming.

Hats off to their success but let's not act like they have ever had any real competition and now they are fighting tooth and nail to keep from having to deal with any competition now. MS' issues are well documented but let's not act like this acquisition will have any real impact on Sony's place in the industry. PlayStation is like the 7th most popular brand in the world Xbox doesn't crack the top 50. Sony will easily survive an acquisition of Activision by MS.

Xbox gave them a good run in the 360/PS3 days, it's not Sony's fault that Xbox exclusives seemed to dry up later on in the generation while Playstation was pumping them out left right and center. Honestly Xbox 360 should have won that generation. I certainly spent most of that generation on a 360 and only bought a PS3 later when it was dirt cheap and only to play a few exclusives like Killzone and Uncharted.

As for Japan, while I agree that the whole "no, I want made-in-Japan" is definitely a thing in Japan, I hope you'll agree that the original Xbox by itself (ie the size and weight of it, the gigantic unwieldy controllers) didn't do Microsoft any favors. Plus, Apple seems to be doing fine selling iPhones to Japanese people. Their sales to Japan are only a third of their sales to China despite China being a much bigger market.

Also, I'm not arguing that this acquisition would kill Sony or knock Sony off the top spot (and if that's what Sony is arguing then they are being facetious shitheads). I'm more arguing that Microsoft has had every opportunity to compete with Sony. They could have at least beaten Sony in all markets outside of Japan with the original Xbox, they could have kept a steady stream of exclusives for 360 to stop PS3 from catching up, they could have not fucked up completely with the Xbox One and forcing people to buy Kinect before backtracking. Honestly, with the absolutely mammoth PS5 (which I think is pretty damn ugly), I think Xbox could have done really well if it just had more exclusives ready to go at or around launch and that's before we even factor in Game Pass (which is a great deal despite how much people shit on it).

This is why I paint the picture of Microsoft essentially throwing up its hands and saying "fuck it we'll just buy the biggest publisher and then we can't possibly lose". Besides, we've seen hardly anything from all those other developers Xbox acquired so I'd say there's no guarantee that them acquiring ActiBliz is good for anyone. I would say Microsoft just doesn't "get it" but they got it with the 360 generation so it must be something else.
 
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Ronin_7

Member
They got way more to lose because those are the real competitors especially with cloud gaming and gaming subscriptions.

Sony is like that kid that is crying to mommy that the his rich next door neighbor got a bigger and better toy that he could only ever imagine buying.
It still should get blocked. Consolidation is a disaster at every level across any industry.

Anyone defending Consolidation at this point it's either a loser or has nothing to do in life.

Terrible examples of duopolies & monopolies in the past & present (Tech)

Android/IOS duopoly - Fortnite banned, hidden 30% fee on the internet, Apple & Google dictate how it's done and nobody can challenge.

Windows (90s, early 00s) - Forced MS Software like Office, Forced browser, terrible OS versions like 2000 or 8, terrible Browser experience on Internet Explorer.

PlayStation/Nintendo - increased prices on hardware All across Europe & others, Nintendo selling shitty hardware at almost 400$ and still selling out, PlayStation ripping off European & other users.

Microsoft is trying to have a monopoly in subscription services, it would never be a monopoly because SONY & Nintendo have strong libraries but still it would be a duopoly at best & should be avoided completely.
 
This is why I paint the picture of Microsoft essentially throwing up its hands and saying "fuck it we'll just buy the biggest publisher and then we can't possibly lose". Besides, we've seen hardly anything from all those other developers Xbox acquired so I'd say there's no guarantee that them acquiring ActiBliz is good for anyone. I would say Microsoft just doesn't "get it" but they got it with the 360 generation so it must be something else.
MS at their best still came in 3rd. The only generation where Xbox wasn't 3rd was their entry into gaming when they beat the Gamecube. The size of the Xbox being the issue in Japan was largely bunk because the PS5 is just as large if not larger and its beating Xbox just like always.

I think the Activision purchase is being overblown as there are multiple reasons for that purchase and beating Sony doesn't appear to be the main reason. MS wants King to enter the mobile market. How does that hurt Sony? MS is allowing Activision to unionize and will address the sexual harassment issues in the company. I have not seen any other companies addressing these issues. Sony hasn't even mentioned all the other IP Activision has so why all the consternation?

It's obvious many different people will benefit from the acquisition and not just shareholders. I've already mentioned the employees of the company but anyone who would prefer to access these games via a subscription would also appreciate the changes. Nintendo would be getting CoD and they been denied for years.

The only company that might not benefit is Sony and I have not seen any evidence they are the embodiment of gaming that needs to be protected. They are the market leader and will be just fine no matter what. Of course that ignores they'll also be keeping CoD so even that isn't something that will hurt them. You think this will make Xbox more successful in Japan? It looks like Sony will still have an entire country to themselves no matter who MS buys.

There has not been one reasonable reason that MS should be blocked here. They aren't a monopoly, they aren't the market leader and they've offered the most valued IP to both Sony and Nintendo. This is an expansion on things currently.
 

OsirisBlack

Member
It depends on what you mean by "better off".

What Microsoft is doing right now, by offering Call of Duty games on all platforms without any advantages, is effectively just buying Activision for their cash flows with no competitive advantage by the acquisition itself. So either Microsoft just REALLY loves the cash flow that Activision generates, or they have ulterior motives for the long-term to be able to gatekeep Activision titles on GamePass. I think the latter is true, but some people are significantly underplaying the importance of this type of move in the future, and is why the FTC has decided to file suit.

I think the Xbox platform as a whole would be BETTER OFF investing organically into their first party studios with a far lesser sum than $69B and making compelling experiences that aren't otherwise already on the market, even if they made those exclusive due to being Microsoft Game Studios titles. Gamers get more games. Xbox gets more mindshare at Game Awards and the general zeitgeist which they are sorely missing now.
I just touched on this exact subject in the other thread.

Whoever here thinks 10 years in gaming is a long time doesn't understand the video gaming market either. For reference, Xbox 1 was released 9 years ago.

Some of the opinions I'm reading are very short-sighted. Do you think Microsoft is dumb enough to not know what they are sitting on? Ten years is a brief moment in time when you can exclude "competition" in perpetuity after that ten-year period.
 

Banjo64

cumsessed
Then you should know better. It's obvious the lawsuit is politically motivated.
I don’t doubt that there would have political elements to whatever the FTC’s decision was - it’s America after all. I’m more interested in the CMA, being British. I do wonder where you’ve been getting your information from in regards to the UK/EU element.
 

reksveks

Member
Interesting case that may have some similarities to the one that the FTC would have to argue (if it gets that far)

"The consumers do not define the boundaries of the market; the products or producers do [and] the market must encompass the product at issue as well as all economic substitutes for the product."). "Economic substitutes have a 'reasonable interchangeability of use' or sufficient 'cross-elasticity of demand' with the relevant product."

Here, Pistacchio's current relevant market definition suffers from numerous deficiencies given the allegations of the complaint. Indeed, the relevant market definition contains sparse supporting allegations. First, as noted, Pistacchio is required, and has not included appropriate allegations demonstrating that there are not appropriate economic substitutes for Apple Arcade on the iOS platform.


May just be a poorly argued and evidence based case from Pistacchio or could be indicative of a larger issue.

I haven't seen anything similar out of the UK.
 
Even for their own detriment?

And blocking the merger is a detriment to the market how

They're happy to narrow markets to sub-markets to further create risks of monopolies,

Expanding to submarkets is the opposite of narrowing. It's naking it wider. If you don't recognise the android OS market as its own submarket how are you supposed to make judgements to protect that submarket? You can't.

yet by their own determination to be extraordinarily granular, they have also created them by positioning Nintendo out on its' own(?).

So why the hyper-sensitivity and concern about the "high-performance, serious gamer"/consoles sub-market with Microsoft and Sony, where there is competition and serious competition for Microsoft; -

You're making no sense here. They have recognised there is serious competion for Microsoft. Identifying the submarket isn't an admission otherwise. Posting last gen numbers isn't going to go far when they have current gen numbers, on top of Satya bragging about being the best selling console consecutively.

All whilst, they freely acknowledge and accept Nintendo in a field of their own with no competition in their sub-market isn't a problem?

You realise Nintendo isn't the one on trial here right? Whether they think it's a problem or not has no baring on this and is irrelevent.
 
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supernova8

Member
MS at their best still came in 3rd. The only generation where Xbox wasn't 3rd was their entry into gaming when they beat the Gamecube. The size of the Xbox being the issue in Japan was largely bunk because the PS5 is just as large if not larger and its beating Xbox just like always.
Actually the Switch is decimating both the PS5 and Xbox Series consoles. Plus the Xbox Series consoles actually seem to be doing a lot better than previous generations. Hard to tell if it's because people gave up trying to get a PS5 and went for a Series S or if people genuinely like the Game Pass model.
There has not been one reasonable reason that MS should be blocked here. They aren't a monopoly, they aren't the market leader and they've offered the most valued IP to both Sony and Nintendo. This is an expansion on things currently.
They are arguably the only company in gaming financially capable of creating a monopoly through sheer buying power.
 
So on the first point...Competition is the whole damn point. That you don't get that is in itself telling but let's get back to substance.
No. When someone is discussing the options consumers may or may not have as a result of the deal. You can't simply charge in, go on a rant about competition, and then continue to claim "it's all about competition". That would be like me asking you if you thought the quality of CoD would remain after an acquisition. Only for some other jump in posting about "it's about the competition." Your original reply wasn't on point.
MS promises to make the franchises available on some other platforms though not on its main competition.
Everything else you wrote in this paragraph is nullified by the fact that MS did no such thing. MS promised to make the franchise available on more platforms than it is currently, as well as on those platforms where it currently exists. THAT INCLUDES IT'S MAIN COMPETITOR.
On the second point...i don't know enough to dispute how MS has behaved but three things to consider:

1. someone else posted the example of Starlight i think which was meant to be multiplatform from Bethesda as part of the MS takeover and now isn't. Others will be better placed to argue this than me but MS being innocent of monopolistic behaviour whlle Sony and Nintendo are nasty is suspect from the get go. Also a company s past record of behaviour does not determine what they will do in future although it is a factor that merits consideration - see also my point 3 below.
The EU regulators approved MS's purchase of Bethesda with no restrictions, and as such. MS were free to do what they wanted to with Bethesda's games. At this point since that acquisition. Those studios that were acquired during that deal have released as of now a total of two games. Both of which had already been moneyhatted by Sony to be Playstation timed exclusives. Microsoft honored both of those deals. All three console manufacturers are companies who's primary goal is profit and revenue. As such, none of them are "nasty". They simply just serve their intended purpose.
2. The market dynamics are plenty complex. MS longterm strategy seems to be to emulate Amazon and eventually hold a gaming infrastructure monopoly via gamepass. If that's true then this move shouldn't just be seen as being about consumers of software but how MS is using brand loyalty and consumer capture to drive their long term strategy. Just something else to throw into the mix to show this stuff is hard to untangle.
Overall, MS is significantly more successful than Amazon both financially as well as stability. Why would MS be trying to emulate Amazon on anything other than cloud services, and even there Azure is outgrowing AMS by quite a bit.
3. Overall size of companies matters too - not just the gaming side. You call this bullshit if either you don't understand how companies can use overall size advantage to strengthen their market position or if you're a console ideologue and can't see beyond that. The data you posted shows that the acquisition would make MS the biggest console manufacturer by annual revenue while it is also a multiple times bigger company overall. That is not bullshit. Its a pertinent fact that needs to be considered as well..MS as market leader is likely to behave differently than MS as lagging competitor.
Of course all these things need to be considered. As far as monopolistic practices goes though, the overall company's size isn't much of a significant factor. MS is considerably larger than Sony and Nintendo overall. That doesn't make them a monopoly in the gaming market, because in that specific market they are the 3rd largest console manufacturer. As to how MS might behave should it become a market leader only factors into it to the extent that it might behave compared to the current market leaders. At the end of the day, someone has to be the market leader. You can't simply block any move that MS might make because you're concerned that MS might upset the status quo.
 
Good. It should be blocked.

Anyone if favor of this is quite frankly a clown, competition is good. If MS wants to compete, invest in the studios you already have, buy developers, not entire fucking publishers. That shit should be illegal.

Shame on anyone in support of this garbage.
The games are still going to be on PS, Nintendo, Steam, and Xbox. No one is losing out on games that they are already getting. Sony is just upset that COD is going to be on game pass in a few years which will attract a lot of people to xbox and hurt Sony's revenue stream. Tough shit, government agencies aren't here to protect a company's revenue. They are here to protect the consumers.

Offering games to more platforms and for a cheaper price is not anti consumer at all.
 
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Then you should know better. It's obvious the lawsuit is politically motivated.


The PC is in a different market. The Switch was never in a market by itself. That is what is bull.
PC is not a different market anymore. They are defiantly competiting and stealing a lot of customers away from consoles. So much so, that Sony is releasing their games on PC at this point. This isn't the 6th or even 7th generation of consoles. Consoles are just closed off PCs.

A little bit of a side track, but I wouldn't be surprise if Sony or Microsoft start releasing games for their competitors console after a few years. It isn't like Halo Infinite or God of war is going to keep selling your console forever. AAA games are so expensive to make now days, you want to do what ever it takes to ensure they turn in a profit so you can invest into more AAA games.
 
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I'm actually pleasantly surprised Microsoft's embrace, extend, extinguish strategy isn't working this time.

Ever since they started pretending to be consumer friendly a few years ago I knew that the second stage of huge acquisitions was coming and voila, here it is. If this isn't stopped we'll have another repeat of the OS and other markets Microsoft has ruined with their monopolistic machinations.

 

DryvBy

Member
Why are people angry that another massive Merger and Acquisition might get blocked? Why are people angry that market consolidation might be avoided?
Why?

Why is this even a stance? Are people's affinity to plastic boxes that play games that powerful, that they must throw consumer interests in the bin so their corporate overlord can get a W?

Why is it that Microsoft buying ABK a good thing, just because people with GamePass get more games? What about people who use PS++? What about those subscribers? Why does Microsoft need to be the one to control which subscription services get what?

There isn't one good argument for this merger outside of tribalism. Good for consumers? Only Microsoft consumers. Good for gamers? Only Microsoft gamers. "But there's a 10 year deal!" isn't a valid reason. That number has changed already for PlayStation as MS fans and Phil has stated COD was going to be on PS as long as there's a PS, not its 10 years. And that's just the verbal PR they spew, just like Bethesda was going to be a "we'll decide on which games" and then they yanked ES and Starfield away.

Here's a thought for the people that think MS will help Activision: why not use the 30 other studios they own already to actually make games?
 
People saying "MS might be better off spending the money on creating new studios that will grow naturally" might not fully understand the decision making process in most companies these days.

To build, maintain and grow studios that match the output of ABK will almost certainly cost much more than $69b.

This is complete and utter bollocks.

The real value in the $70b MS wants to pay for ACTIBLZD is in the IP value of the gaming franchises and their brand value. If MS were to buy up all their studios without access to the IP, they'd be paying less than $1bn.

Building as many studios isn't nearly as expensive as $70bn. So you calling folks out for not understanding business while making such an eye-wateringly absurd claim is hilariously ironic.

Not to mention the time in years it will take to do that.

The only major cost for studio generation and nurturing is in time and project investment.

MS attempted this multiple times over the past two gens, i.e. building out new studios, and for many reasons, those new studios ended up collapsing. There's just something wrong structurally with Xbox's studio management.

So in light of that, they went with the next best thing, which was buying existing studios. That's the major reason they're making acquisitions over building new studios. They recognize that they have a studio management structure that is toxic to fostering talent and building top-tier games. So instead they look to buy entire publishers, so as to retain those publishers' studio management structures, processes and culture.

It's easy to understand why they're doing this. Does it make it good for the industry, though? It certainly doesn't.
 
I don’t doubt that there would have political elements to whatever the FTC’s decision was - it’s America after all. I’m more interested in the CMA, being British. I do wonder where you’ve been getting your information from in regards to the UK/EU element.
From their public preliminary statements. Comments from current employees but former competition regulators speaking about protecting PlayStation doesn't exactly lend itself to neutrality.

PC is not a different market anymore. They are defiantly competiting and stealing a lot of customers away from consoles. So much so, that Sony is releasing their games on PC at this point. This isn't the 6th or even 7th generation of consoles. Consoles are just closed off PCs.

A little bit of a side track, but I wouldn't be surprise if Sony or Microsoft start releasing games for their competitors console after a few years. It isn't like Halo Infinite or God of war is going to keep selling your console forever. AAA games are so expensive to make now days, you want to do what ever it takes to ensure they turn in a profit so you can invest into more AAA games.
MS previously stated that PC is a separate market. So they couldn't argue now that it is the same. Besides PCs are hardware agnostic and are open platforms. Consoles are fixed hardware and usually closed platforms. It is usually an agreed upon fact.

I don't see any platform holder doing multi-platform titles outside of MS. Sony and Nintendo remain traditional in the sense of keeping exclusives exclusive and removing incentives to going to other platforms.

There isn't one good argument for this merger outside of tribalism. Good for consumers? Only Microsoft consumers. Good for gamers? Only Microsoft gamers. "But there's a 10 year deal!" isn't a valid reason. That number has changed already for PlayStation as MS fans and Phil has stated COD was going to be on PS as long as there's a PS, not its 10 years. And that's just the verbal PR they spew, just like Bethesda was going to be a "we'll decide on which games" and then they yanked ES and Starfield away.

Here's a thought for the people that think MS will help Activision: why not use the 30 other studios they own already to actually make games?
This deal is good for Activision employees who want improved working conditions and Nintendo gamers who have been denied Activision titles for years. It's also good for anyone who wants to play Activision games on a subscription service. Tribalism has nothing to do with it.
 

DeepEnigma

Gold Member
Yes, you are.
Banjo64 Banjo64 gives shit to all sides.

He is nothing like those clown shills in the media and on YT.

Oh so now you want to play down the Series S' capability?

Let me remind you of what you were saying about the Series S just a couple of months ago:



This is quite the turn of events.

Man's spinning around more than Kylie Minogue.
Frustrated World Cup GIF
 
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