If the new policy is implemented, the procedure may become more complicated.
Activision Blizzard’s proposed acquisition by Microsoft could be subject to regulatory scrutiny. According to Bloomberg, the FTC will review the purchase, rather than the Justice Department.
Call of Duty, Warcraft, Starcraft, Diablo, and Overwatch are among the key brands Microsoft intends to acquire as a result of the transaction. Insofar as current contract arrangements allow, Microsoft has declared that it plans to keep distributing many of these games on Sony’s PlayStation platform. However, if the deal goes through, Xbox may exclude its competition from some of the largest franchises in the world.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which is led by Lina Khan, is in charge of approving acquisitions in the United States. Despite the promises of both the FTC and the Justice Department, Khan has been the most vocal in her opposition to possible monopolies.
Microsoft completed a lesser deal to acquire Bethesda earlier this year, but the process began under the previous administration’s regulatory authorities and was completed before Khan and her harsher attitude arrived at the FTC.
Microsoft’s acquisition isn’t the only recent game acquisition news. A $3.6 billion agreement involving Sony and the studio behind Destiny was announced on Monday. The acquisition must be approved by the relevant authorities, but because of the lower size, it is expected to move more smoothly.
Even though large-scale entertainment acquisitions like Discovery’s purchase of Warner Media are expected to go through, the involvement of Microsoft and the frequent use of terms like “metaverse” could make this a tech issue, prompting Khan’s FTC to step in and conduct a more thorough investigation.
Activision Blizzard’s purchase by Microsoft is likely to be more difficult and problematic because of all of these considerations, but we won’t know for sure whether the deal will go through for several months, if not next year.