If the recently announced acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft takes place it will indeed be the biggest deal in the gaming world. However, the acquisition, being valued at $68.7 billion, has some hurdles that it will need to cross. Tech giants in the USA have been under critical scrutiny from government authorities, especially when it comes to big buyouts. Google, Meta, Apple, have all come under fire for their various moves to monopolise industries; and now, the Microsoft deal will be reviewed by a government-run antitrust agency.
The FTC, headed by antitrust scholar Lina Khan, aims to disrupt any conditions in the tech sector that can escalate valuations. Since the Microsoft Activision deal will allow the former to own some of the most high-value video games in the market, the government may have spotted concerns. However, the president of the tech giant has put forth dialogue that claims co-operation with regulators and a non-discriminatory policy for their app store.
Most are of the view that this note from Microsoft has less to do with establishing a fair app store, and more about ensuring the acquisition takes place without a hitch. Microsoft claims that they already present Windows with a certain set of ‘open principles’, which will now be used to run their app store. Some of the key propositions are not forcing developers to use their payment platforms or provide competitive prices, and developers will also be able to communicate directly with consumers on their platform.
It is also important to note that even with the acquisition in place; Microsoft will not become the exclusive owner of the high-value Activision games such as Call of Duty and World of Warcraft. Rather, companies such as Sony will still be able to offer these games on Sony’s PlayStation.