As the video game industry continues to wait and see if the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will file an antitrust lawsuit to block Microsoft’s $68.7 billion Acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Microsoft speaks again about why proposed deal is said to be ‘good for gamers’
The Wall Street Journal published an opinion piece by Brad Smith, Microsoft’s President and Vice Chairman, in which Smith addressed Sony’s stance as the takeover’s main opponent.
“Sony emerged as the loudest objector,” Smith wrote. “It’s just as excited about this deal as Blockbuster is about the rise of Netflix.” Concluding his article, Smith said, “Think about how much better it is to stream a movie from your couch than it is to drive to Blockbuster. We want to bring the same kind of innovation to the video game industry.”
Despite comparing Sony to the outdated video store, Smith continued Microsoft’s ongoing self-deprecating strategy by saying Xbox “remains third in console gaming, stuck behind Sony’s dominant PlayStation and the Nintendo Switch.”
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The Microsoft president also claimed that Xbox doesn’t have enough games to get players to subscribe to Xbox Game Pass, and reiterated Microsoft’s plans to keep Call of Duty as a multiplatform franchise.
“To attract subscribers to this service, Microsoft needs a full library of popular games, and as of today, we just don’t have enough,” Smith wrote.
In November, Politico reported that the The FTC will “probably” file an antitrust lawsuit to block the huge acquisition. At the time, an Activision Blizzard spokesman told IGN that “any suggestion that the transaction could result in anti-competitive effects is utterly preposterous.”
The report noted that the lawsuit was not guaranteed and that the FTC’s four commissioners have yet to meet with attorneys for Microsoft and Activision. However, FTC officials are reportedly skeptical of the companies’ arguments, and so has the commission recently sued to block two major mergersindicating that the same could probably happen here.
If the FTC files an antitrust lawsuit, a recent report by Bloomberg states that “Microsoft is preparing to challenge this decision in court”.
Smith’s statement is the latest in a series of statements from Microsoft trying to push through the merger. Several times during the acquisition review process, Microsoft promised the Activision’s Call of Duty remains on PlayStation after the takeover. Microsoft has also called PlayStation too big to fail while Xbox says it has a “number of significant disadvantages” compared to its competing platforms.
Sony is also playing the self-mockery game, saying Battlefield can’t keep up with Call of Duty, claiming “Game Pass clearly leads PlayStation Plus.”
The FTC investigation is the latest obstacle to Microsoft’s proposed acquisition, as the deal has also come under scrutiny from the European Commission, several US senators, New York City and the US Department of Justice.
Logan Plant is a freelance writer for IGN, covering video game and entertainment news. He has over six years of gaming industry experience with bylines at IGN, Nintendo Wire, Switch Player Magazine and Lifewire. Find him on Twitter @LoganJPlant.