Microsoft continues to negotiate with the FTC to try to get the Activision Blizzard acquisition completed on schedule for July 2023. Recently, Microsoft subpoena SONY to get discovery documentation before the FTC on how SONY thinks the Microsoft/Activision Blizzard acquisition affects SONY. SONY asked for an extension of time to submit the discovery documentation as per this FTC filing.
ORDER GRANTING AGREED MOTION FOR EXTENSION OF TIME
On January 31, 2023, non-party Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC (“SIE”) filed a motion to extend the time for it to file a motion to quash or to limit a subpoena served on SIE by
Federal Trade Commission Complaint Counsel (“Motion”). SIE represents that Complaint Counsel agrees with the relief requested in the Motion. Upon review and consideration of the Motion, the Motion is GRANTED. It is hereby ORDERED that SIE’s deadline to file a motion to quash or to limit Complaint Counsel’s subpoena is extended to February 15, 2023
The third filing says:
Pursuant to the January 4, 2023 Scheduling Order, Microsoft has until April 7, 2023, to complete fact discovery, and, therefore, SIE does not believe the requested extension of two days will delay the progress of these proceedings
Microsoft is also facing the UK competition regulator case and the latest Europe Antitrust case.
The FTC administrative Judge’s hearing is scheduled for August 2.
UPDATE (Feb 7): A Microsoft spokeperson commented they have a strong case in the UK. No particular signs that they plan to block the acquisition. At the bottom of this page, FOSS Patents (which is tracking the dates for each regulator around the world) shared a chart image that shows all regulators should reach a decision between April 10 – May 1, respectively.
The conference calls have been paused since the acquisition announcement was made last year. However, those were replaced by press releases that report the financial results. The latest one was the Activision Blizzard 2022 Q4 financial results as shown below. You can read the complete report here.
- Blizzard segment revenue and operating income grew approximately 90% year-over-year in the fourth quarter, as our teams executed against a substantial pipeline to deliver well-received content across key intellectual properties. Warcraft, Overwatch and Diablo grew strongly year-over-year and each delivered over $100M in net bookings.
- In the Warcraft franchise, World of Warcraft delivered significant year-over-year growth in reach, engagement and net bookings in the fourth quarter following the September release of Wrath of the Lich King® Classic and the November launch of Dragonflight™. While early Dragonflight sales have not reached the level of the prior expansion, community feedback on the title has been positive. Blizzard has announced plans to deliver substantially more follow-on content for the expansion than in the past, and post-launch subscriber retention in the West is higher than recent expansions. Elsewhere in the Warcraft franchise, mobile title Warcraft: Arclight Rumble™ continues to progress well through regional testing.
- The October launch of Overwatch 2 with a free-to-play model delivered the highest quarterly figures for player numbers and hours played in Overwatch history. Player investment is also off to a strong start, with fourth quarter in-game net bookings at the highest level to date for Overwatch. The team is working on an ambitious slate of regular seasonal updates, including PVE content, to engage and expand the community, as well as other ways for new and existing players to experience the Overwatch universe longer-term.
- Diablo Immortal™on mobile and PC also contributed to Blizzard’s fourth quarter year-over-year growth. Engagement and player investment trends for the title were stable at the end of the fourth quarter and into the new year. Diablo IV, the next installment in the genre-defining series, is planned for release on PC and console on June 6, 2023. This ambitious title will serve as the launch for a compelling live service, with regular seasons and story-driven expansions planned for years to come.
- Licensing agreements with NetEase that covered the publication of several titles in China expired in January 2023. Nonetheless, we still expect very strong year-over-year financial growth globally for Blizzard in 2023, driven by both the launch of Diablo IV and live operations. Blizzard remains focused on finding alternative ways to serve the community in China.