Microsoft will have to put more effort into convincing regulators that the Activision purchase does not harm competition in the video game industry. Although those from Redmond recently closed agreements with Nintendo and NVIDIA to bring call of duty to their platforms, the FTC, the US regulatory body, He still does not look favorably on the acquisition.
The FTC claims that Microsoft has made these moves to have an element that justifies the purchase in the face of regulators. However, they consider that the company has not disclosed the appropriate details about each agreement.
Certainly, during the last few days, doubts have arisen about Microsoft’s commitments to these companies, mainly Nintendo. Because? It is well known that the Switch, as far as technical performance is concerned, is inferior to the rest of the platforms where call of duty is already present. Therefore, some want to know how Microsoft will circumvent the limitations of the hardware to achieve its goal.
For this and other reasons, FTC authorities want to know more details. Not only about the agreements with Nintendo and NVIDIA, but also about Microsoft’s specific plan with the rest of the Activision franchises.
Despite the clear intent to use these agreements in its defense, Microsoft has refused to provide internal documents related to those agreements, or communications with third parties other than Nvidia, Nintendo, and Sony. Microsoft should not be allowed to present or entrust these agreements without providing the underlying elements requested.”
And watch out, because the request for information has been extended to the contents of ZeniMaxthe Bethesda-owned company that Microsoft bought for $7.5 billion in 2020. “The FTC is looking for all documents related to the exclusivity of the content that Microsoft acquired from ZeniMax and the one it proposes to acquire from Activision,” they mention.
What does ZeniMax and Betshesda have to do with this whole thing? Well, the regulators believe that Microsoft, once it gets the Intellectual Property from Activision, could manage it the same way it did ZeniMax. That is to say, making some games exclusive, as is the case of Starfield either redfall.
Sony takes advantage of doubts about the management of ZeniMax to try to stop Microsoft
Sony, in fact, also relied on Microsoft’s management of the ZeniMax franchises to show itself against the acquisition of Activision. “While not a breach of commitment, Microsoft’s conduct in connection with the ZeniMax acquisition provides additional evidence as to why it should be approached with caution,” they said in a document sent to the CMA, the UK regulator. The Japanese continued their intervention by saying:
When Microsoft proposed to acquire ZeniMax, it told the European Commission that it did not intend to cease or limit the availability of ZeniMax games on rival consoles. Microsoft also publicly stated to investors: ‘We are committed to cross-platform gaming because if it’s good for the gaming ecosystem, it’s good for us. We have no intention of pulling all of Bethesda’s content off of competing platforms.'”
As Sony previously mentioned, Microsoft did not violate that commitment. By specifying “We have no intention of removing ALL content from Bethesda”, they manage to cover themselves after converting to Starfieldand redfall in exclusives. Despite this, on PlayStation they fear that those from Redmond will do the same with some Activision titles.
However, at least as far as call of duty, at Microsoft they have tired of promising that their intention is not to limit the availability of the popular franchise, but to expand it to platforms where, today, it does not have a presence. That is the reason why they joined forces with Nintendo and NVIDIA.