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[MarketWatch] Microsoft faces battle for Activision deal, especially if ‘Call of Duty’ is destined for Xbox exclusivity

IIRC, AT&T and Time Warner's $85 billion merger was blocked by the government though it eventually went through.

$70 billion is a lot of money and it might face some scrutiny but I doubt anything will come from it.
That was blocked because Trump hated CNN.

Media companies dont really get rejected. That being said the simple size of this deal, Microsoft will be looked at. But I think they are good. Only way this is blocked.

The only way.

If its found that Microsoft leaked the story of Activision to get a more favorable price. That would be spicy.

But I think Disney and Microsoft can’t buy anymore media companies after Activision and Fox for a while.
 

Pallas

Gold Member
I honestly don’t think CoD will become a exclusive, if Microsoft is smart, they will treat it like they treat Minecraft. As far as the rest of the article, feels clickbait and fear over nothing.
 
You mean on Microsoft Windows?

Or is Microsoft going to start releasing all their games on Linux and MacOS?
Wait. Are you telling me I need iOS or MacOS to run an Apple app? But if I don’t like the Apple app I can choose from literally millions of other apps available on MacOS and iOS? And it works the same way on Windows and Microsoft products?

If you don’t want to pay Microsoft for GamePass or COD on your Windows machine then pick from the 1000000000000 of other generic first person shooters available in dozens of different GamePass alternatives.

Also, blame it on developers for choosing to utilize DirectX to tap into the gigantic market of PC gamers who overwhelmingly buy Windows machines. Activision is not going to publish/port a game to your favorite obscure flavor of LINUX.

Convince your boys to move in mass to a Linux rig and refuse to buy Windows games. Boycott.
 
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M16

Member
"Sony and other gaming platform owners could argue that Microsoft’s giving preference to its own platforms with Activision’s vast array of games, and especially the most popular ones, could hurt consumers"

This knob never heard of console exclusivity before. And lol at if Sony complains. They've been moneyhatting games left and right
 
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onesvenus

Member
This isn't the only article saying these things so no idea why folks are throwing rocks at this author.

"I strongly suspect that both Microsoft and Activision know that a deal of this size in an industry that has never experienced one like it before will get a closer look by acquisition regulators, which means it will take more time. It doesn’t mean that the deal will get blocked (and indeed Microsoft likely wouldn't announce it in such a fashion if they anticipated a block), but it also doesn’t mean it won't."

Microsoft's Activision Blizzard Acquisition Likely To Be Scrutinized By Regulators, Says Legal Expert

"But there are complicated relationships here that regulators will no doubt scrutinize. For instance, Activision (ATVI) games like Call of Duty are popular on the Sony PlayStation platform, the primary rival to Microsoft’s Xbox game console. It is likely that regulators will want assurances that Microsoft won’t limit Activision games to Xbox. And there are good reasons to ask the question—you can’t play Microsoft’s popular game Halo on a PlayStation, for instance."

Microsoft Is About to Get a Close Look From Regulators. Its Free Pass Is Over.
I hope you don't expect a post from a Sony fanboy like you to be taken seriously on this matter.
Have you read what you are linking? Being such a big money exchange will draw some eyes to it from people who don't know anything about videogames, and it's showing in the posts that are following the announcement. Of course you can't play Halo on PS, can you play TLoU on Xbox?
That you use those articles to make your point just shows how big of a fanboy you are
 

Topher

Gold Member
I hope you don't expect a post from a Sony fanboy like you to be taken seriously on this matter.
Have you read what you are linking? Being such a big money exchange will draw some eyes to it from people who don't know anything about videogames, and it's showing in the posts that are following the announcement. Of course you can't play Halo on PS, can you play TLoU on Xbox?
That you use those articles to make your point just shows how big of a fanboy you are

My only point was that the article in the OP wasn't the only one bringing up this as a potential issue. That makes me a fanboy? lol

jennifer lawrence ok GIF
 
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Cyborg

Member
Even with this acquisition, they don't own the majority of the market (I think MS is third). This changes nothing and PS players will need to wait and see what MS plans with CoD and other IP's.

In my opinion; Base games/Warzone will be on PS but exclusive content is first for Xbox and part of GamePass.
 

GymWolf

Gold Member
M already did his math before buying them, i'm sure they already have everything under control, it is not monopoly if you also release cod on steam or every device with gamepass (so phones, tablet, laptop etc.).
 

onesvenus

Member
My only point was that the article in the OP wasn't the only one bringing up this as a potential issue. That makes me a fanboy? lol

jennifer lawrence ok GIF
Using the arguments those posts used does. That for you, the argument of Halo is not in PS is a valid argument says it all
 

Topher

Gold Member
Using the arguments those posts used does. That for you, the argument of Halo is not in PS is a valid argument says it all

The main point in that quote was that regulators may want MS to not make COD exclusive to Xbox (same point made by the author in the OP). Obviously the writer is directing this article to non-gamer readers. Halo was just an example for them to consider.

You are overreacting badly.
 
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hlm666

Member
and yet another lawyer said this.

While there is a chance the deal could be viewed as a “horizontal” acquisition — where two direct competitors are merged — given that Xbox is also a game developer. Hoppe says, "it is difficult to apply legal competition principles when the ‘products’ are creative works like video games, each one of which is arguably unique and therefore not in direct competition."

While convergence in the industry means all entertainment options compete with each other in some way, Hoppe explains that “It would be quite ridiculous at this point to try to make an antitrust case on the basis that the acquisition will result in less consumer choice in the shooter games product category, for example.”

 

Markio128

Member
I pray they make it exclusive. Want Sony to panic.
I wish the same, but for a slightly different reason. COD has been getting gradually worse over the years and it would be great if Sony put some effort into replacing it with their own game, possible with the help of Deviation games. Other than COD, there is nothing else to be concerned about in regard to the acquisition.
 

Bo_Hazem

Gold Dealer
I wish the same, but for a slightly different reason. COD has been getting gradually worse over the years and it would be great if Sony put some effort into replacing it with their own game, possible with the help of Deviation games. Other than COD, there is nothing else to be concerned about in regard to the acquisition.

Exactly that. I want them to reconsider Killzone, SOCOM, Resistance. Heck, make TLOU2 Factions F2P or at least PS+ game and recoup that with some cosmetic MTX that can be earned through challenges as well.
 

Markio128

Member
Exactly that. I want them to reconsider Killzone, SOCOM, Resistance. Heck, make TLOU2 Factions F2P or at least PS+ game and recoup that with some cosmetic MTX that can be earned through challenges as well.
I’ve always thought that Sony could release the tps/fps equivalent of Smash Brothers, using characters from their IPs. It’s the perfect time to celebrate what makes you unique.
 

Ogbert

Member
The article is total and utter drivel.

Firstly, MS are not in a position of dominance. Secondly, they are not creating any barrier into the market. There is absolutely nothing preventing Sony from creating an FPS more popular that CoD.

Also, video games are not a critical service and not subject to the same regulatory scrutiny. This is the same reason that Amazon can do what the hell they want.
 

Bo_Hazem

Gold Dealer
I’ve always thought that Sony could release the tps/fps equivalent of Smash Brothers, using characters from their IPs. It’s the perfect time to celebrate what makes you unique.

That's why I want Sony to panic. Sony under pressure is the best Sony. Even in the camera field, when they had the mirrorless throne alone they made some stupid and lazy moves, but now Canon and Nikon are again putting a fight they're now making better upgrades to keep their throne.
 

ZywyPL

Gold Member
EA made Porsche cars exclusive to their games and no one bat an eye, Fifa is so popular for the exact same reason, and again, there was nobody to control the deal, so I don't think anything will happen here as well, especially when MS can convince the authorities that they actually want to bring the games to even more consumers via GP/xCloud, even if Playstation gets completely excluded in the process.
 

GHG

Member
Lots of unfounded dismissal in this thread. Look at the price ATVI is currently trading at. If you're so confident then put all your money into the stock, it'll be free money (~13.5%).

3liteDragon 3liteDragon it might be worth updating the OP with this:

This article from the FT is far more comprehensive than the market watch article:

The biggest deal in Microsoft’s history is set to become a test case for the leaders of US antitrust agencies who have vowed to tackle Big Tech’s market power.

Microsoft is bracing for intense regulatory scrutiny, with its agreed $75bn acquisition of video game maker Activision Blizzard set to be under the microscope of progressives appointed to leading antitrust roles in the Biden administration. They include Lina Khan at the US Federal Trade Commission and Jonathan Kanter at the US Department of Justice.

“Microsoft is fully aware that it won’t be a breeze even if there is no obvious antitrust violation,” said a person with direct knowledge about how the company’s M&A team is preparing to get the transaction approved.

The fear inside the tech group is that Khan will use this transaction to prove she is serious about taking on Big Tech, the person added. Activision’s investors appear to share such concern, as the company’s stock price is trading at a 13.5 per cent discount to Microsoft’s $95 a share all-cash offer.

“This is an ideal opportunity for the antitrust agencies to act on the view of their leaders that the courts have been too lenient in allowing consolidations in many industries, particularly the tech sector,” said Bill Baer, visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution and former head of the DoJ antitrust division.

The FTC and DoJ declined to comment on whether they would probe the megamerger. Which agency would potentially investigate the deal also remained unclear.

Bobby Kotick, chief executive of Activision, has played down the risk of regulatory pushback, as tech behemoths such as Apple and Google also exploring gaming.

Responding to the calls for regulatory action, Microsoft said that the games market would still be “diverse and fragmented” even after its deal and took swipe at some of its biggest tech rivals.

“Mobile game distribution runs through Apple and Google, who can generate more money from consumers who purchase games than the actual studios and developers who make the games,” said Microsoft.

It added that it had “no intention of withdrawing games from existing platforms, and our strategy is player-centric — gamers should be able to play the games they want where they want. We believe this acquisition will only increase competition, but it is ultimately up to regulators to decide.”

But antitrust experts argue that federal agencies will be taking a very close look given the focus of their leaders, the size of the takeover and the potential harm to others in the gaming industry.

Khan says the deterring factor provided by taking action is “key” in enforcing competition law. The FTC chair on Wednesday told CNBC that illegal mergers have been pursued in the past “because the consequences of proposing those deals have not been significant . . . the kind of deterrence that we need to see in order to change the game, we’re not seeing.”

The Microsoft deal was announced on Tuesday just hours before the FTC and DoJ said they would seek input from the public on revamping merger rules to crack down on illegal deals amid a surge in transactions. Merger filings more than doubled between 2020 and 2021, the agencies said.

Herbert Hovenkamp, professor at Penn Law at the University of Pennsylvania, said that while it is too early to predict the complexity of a potential case against the transaction, “new merger laws [are] made by close calls, not by the easy cases.”

A probe into the acquisition would signal that agencies are keen to apply to Microsoft the level of scrutiny they have so far reserved for other tech companies.

“Big Tech has been in the crosshairs for the past couple of years,” said Michael Carrier, law professor at Rutgers University. “Microsoft has seemed to avoid the crosshairs, but in a deal like this they might find themselves in that position.”

An investigation would mark the biggest antitrust action against Microsoft since US authorities sued the company two decades ago in what became known as the “antitrust case of the century.” The government won after accusing the group of using its Windows monopoly to crush web browser pioneer Netscape.

“The question is whether we would have seen the growth and success of this next generation internet companies if the Department of Justice hadn’t taken the action,” Khan told CNBC of the 1998 lawsuit. “In that case, enforcement was critical to oxygenate the market and make sure that those opportunities were there.”

The Microsoft-Activision deal would not represent the sort of straightforward market share concerns that prompt most antitrust enforcement. Instead, as a “vertical merger” combining the software group’s distribution systems and the video game maker’s content, it would present a more challenging case.

A challenge from the antitrust agencies could help them shape rules around vertical mergers — one of the topics on which they are seeking information — after the FTC last year withdrew 2020-vintage guidelines for these types of tie-ups for being too lax.

If agencies sued to block the transaction they could argue, for instance, that Microsoft could “disadvantage competitors” by having Activision’s popular games Call of Duty or World of Warcraft only played on its own Xbox and not on Sony’s PlayStation, Carrier said.

While cases against vertical mergers are among the most challenging to win, they have started to pick up in recent years amid tougher antitrust enforcement. “This will be an interesting test case to see whether the agencies are willing to challenge a merger that presents these vertical questions in the video game industry,” Carrier added.

A recent challenge by US agencies to vertical mergers has been unsuccessful. The DoJ in 2019 failed to block AT&T’s $80bn acquisition of Time Warner after a US federal appeals court ruled against the department.

But Khan appears unfazed by the prospect of the FTC losing in court, telling CNBC on Wednesday that “even if it’s not a slam dunk case, even if there is a risk you might lose, there can be enormous benefits from taking that risk . . . You lose all the shots you don’t take.”

The $75bn acquisition could turbocharge the growing co-operation between regulators on both sides of the Atlantic, which according to Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition chief, was triggered by Khan’s FTC appointment.

Baer said: “I would expect in particular Europe, the US and the UK to co-ordinate closely on their reviews and on any possible outcomes . . .[for] these sorts of mergers which have worldwide implications.”

Having escaped regulatory scrutiny for years in Brussels, Microsoft could face lengthy probes as EU officials take a close look at its acquisition, said multiple people with direct knowledge of the transaction.

EU regulators are expected to dig into potential anti-competitive issues based on the size of the deal alone, said one adviser. “It is just too big to be ignored,” the person said.


Lina Khan is looking to stamp her feet and EU regulators will also be looking into it.

Here's the interview with Lina Khan (starts 6 minutes in):

 
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nush

Gold Member
I honestly don’t think CoD will become a exclusive, if Microsoft is smart, they will treat it like they treat Minecraft. As far as the rest of the article, feels clickbait and fear over nothing.

Microsoft are a software company (Clues in the name). It's in their interest to put their software on as many platforms as possible. Whoever wins, Microsoft will also win. They are on record in saying they are not interested in "The box" the game is played on.
 

Edgelord79

Gold Member
Sony doing the same thing they would be arguing against may not sit well with regulators either.

There will be more than one company trying to block this I assume.
 

GHG

Member
Crunchyroll deal that Sony did was more likely to be held than this and it went through. Nothing is stopping this deal.

On what basis?

They made the purchase from another media conglomerate (which resulted in deconsolidation) and it was 1.1 billion vs the 70 billion here.

The size of the deal matters, this is the biggest deal in Microsoft's history, of course it's going to go under the microscope. It would be naive to think otherwise.
 
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Clear

Member
Crunchyroll deal that Sony did was more likely to be held than this and it went through. Nothing is stopping this deal.

I don't know about that. People are so fixated on Xbox versus Playstation that they seem to be forgetting that this merger is about competing against far bigger corporations than Sony. If Meta decides to stick their oar in? Or Apple? or Google? Because they might see derailing the deal to be in their interests?

And then of course there's always the EU regulators who historically are not predisposed to treating MS as benign.

With so much money on the line here, is it reasonable to expect that there won't be machinations and fuckery around it?
 

reksveks

Member
Lina Khan is looking to stamp her feet and EU regulators will also be looking into it.
I like Lina Khan but honestly I don't expect the FTC/DOJ to be able to fight all of their current battles and the MS/Bethesda one is the weakest of their battles. Google and Meta being the strongest ones.



Go exclusive, please.

Ended up 57:43 after digital numbers was included but yeah they have numbers to work through
 

checkcola

Member
I know Call of Duty is a big deal, but I find it hard to believe one freaking yearly title is the be all/end of all of gaming.
 
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