Gamers are suing Microsoft to thwart its merger with Activision

An Xbox One devours a Call of Duty disc.

photo: Bloomberg (Getty Images)

The Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914 gives Americans the right to sue companies for anti-competitive behavior, a fact 10 self-proclaimed gamers are using to take Microsoft to court in a bid to stop the company’s acquisition of Activision.

When reported by Bloomberg lawthe Complaint, filed today and received by kotakustates that the plaintiffs, or “video gamers” as they are described, are concerned that “the [Microsoft and Activision] Mergers may significantly reduce competition or tend to create a monopoly;” the merger, the complaint says, specifically violates Section 7 of the Clayton Act, which states that anti-competitive acquisitions are prohibited under US antitrust laws. Not only does the complaint cite the scale and scope of the Activision-Microsoft merger as problematic, but also that this latest proposed merger follows numerous other Microsoft acquisitions ranging from its 2014 acquisition of Mojang to ranging from Rare in 2022.

By thoroughly portraying console, PC and AAA games, and subscription services as “relevant product markets,” the lawsuit draws attention to how many major franchises will fall under the Microsoft umbrella if the merger goes through. call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Minecraft, demise, Microsoft flight simulator, glorioleand The Elder Scrolls are just some of the examples mentioned. It claims that Microsoft and Activision currently compete directly through these titles and services such as Battle.net, the Microsoft Store, and Game Pass. The merger would shake up these competitive dynamics.

Should the merger go ahead, the lawsuit says, Microsoft would “possess excessive market power and the ability to foreclose critical inputs to competitors and further harm competition.” The lawsuit mentions both competition when it comes to sales to consumers and competition in the industry to “hire and retain talent in a specialized video game workforce” that would be “weakened” as part of the merger.

kotaku has reached out to Microsoft for comment.

The proposed merger of Microsoft and Activision has been a lightning rod for controversy ever since his initial announcement. Perhaps most concerning is for Microsoft the FTC’s recent lawsuit. The FBI claims that this merger, if it goes ahead, would seriously harm competition in the video game industry, citing Microsoft’s past behavior of prioritizing Xbox and Windows PCs as platforms for its games. Microsoft disagreed, stating that acquiring Activision “would bring call of Duty for more players and more platforms than ever before.”

Speaking of call of DutyIn response to criticism of its intended merger with Activision, Microsoft has pledged to continue doing so delivery call of Duty to other platforms for at least 10 years. Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming, has categorizes Sony’s criticism of the acquisition as an attempt to “protect its dominance on consoles” and that it is trying to grow by “making Xbox smaller”.

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