The FTC* has now jumped into action to review the acquisition to determine if there is unfair competition — according to Bloomberg. Surprisingly, the FTC won’t jointly review the case with the Justice Department, preferring to do the review on its own.
We will have to see what SEC’s investigation determines separately, but the FTC is traditionally more aggressive and thorough. As precedent, and most recently, the FTC sued to block NVIDIA’s takeover of ARM Ltd. and Lockheed Martin’s takeover of Aerojet Rocketdying Holdings.
On the bright side, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer tweeted recently:
Had good calls this week with leaders at Sony. I confirmed our intent to honor all existing agreements upon acquisition of Activision Blizzard and our desire to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation. Sony is an important part of our industry, and we value our relationship.Phil Spencer
This alleviates concerns of past and current Call of Duty, Overwatch, Diablo III, and other ATVI gamers playing on the PlayStation and Nintendo Switch communities (where applicable), but the tweet didn’t specifically address the concern about future game releases being Xbox or Game Pass exclusives; or whether future ATVI Blizzard games will be available in those platforms — which is what the SEC and FTC might be interested in with this investigation to determine fair competition and that SONY and Nintendo may continue to have access to future ATVI Blizzard games.
The Microsoft acquisition of Activision Blizzard will be concluded up to June 30, 2023 (a year from now). According to both parties, ATVI Blizzard will continue to run independently until then. After the acquisition concludes, all departments will answer to Phil Spencer, instead of Bobby Kotick.