A federal judge rules against the FTC today ruling that the sale of Activision by Microsoft can go through by the July 18th deadline.
The ruling was 53 pages in which Judge Corley agreed with Microsoft that the FTC failed to provide any evidence of monopoly or any kind of legal tampering with the $69 billion deal. The FTC argued that the sale would produce a monopoly in the gaming sphere. The two sides butted heads a few weeks ago as Microsoft and the FTC had oral discussions before Congress.
In the 53-page ruling, the judge stated:
"This Court’s responsibility in this case is narrow. It is to decide if, notwithstanding these current circumstances, the merger should be halted—perhaps even terminated—pending resolution of the FTC administrative action. For the reasons explained, the Court finds the FTC has not shown a likelihood it will prevail on its claim this particular vertical merger in this specific industry may substantially lessen competition. To the contrary, the record evidence points to more consumer access to Call of Duty and other Activision content. The motion for a preliminary injunction is therefore DENIED."
The main argument from opponents of the deal was the incentive of making Call of Duty an Xbox Console exclusive, which by it’s very nature is an invalid argument since Microsoft would be shooting itself in the foot by taking money off the table. Call of Duty isn’t a console buying exclusive game by any stretch and a good amount of gamers have both, if not both and a PC, consoles.
Statements from Microsoft
The last issue is convincing the Competition and Markets Authority, the European version of the FTC for those in the U.S, to put the deal through. This being said, it looks as if the deal will go through across the pond as well.
Phil Spencer took to Twitter to express his feelings on what the FTC was doing:
The President of Microsoft and Vice Chair Brad Smith also released a statement stating:
Where does Microsoft go from here?
During the week of discussion, the major focuses were whether or not PC gaming and Console Gaming were the same thing. The major argument on Microsoft’s side was the acquisition provides more ammunition for Xbox to compete with the PlayStation 5 and the decade long dominance since the launch of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Sony argued that Xbox would remove Call of Duty from their platform, a game that is one of the highest bought games year over year. Xbox also announced they would be raising the prices to compete with the PS5 in certain markets as well, reflecting the final blow for inflation.
However the gamers feel, both sides were respectful and didn’t offer any disrespect for the other side, often praising the other side for their content. Redacted Court documents even showed the development budget for Horizon: Zero Dawn. Microsoft also argued that titles like The Last of Us, the Horizon series, and Uncharted have notoriously done well while the Microsoft exclusives have had a hard time in recent years such as the Halo series and Gears of War.
Stay tuned for more information as the story is developing.