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US Judge Rejects Request To Halt Microsoft’s Acquisition Of Activision Blizzard

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(CTN NEWS) – The possibility of Microsoft acquiring major games publisher Activision Blizzard has received a significant boost as a US judge dismissed a request from US regulators to halt the deal.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) had expressed concerns that the $69 billion (£54 billion) merger would result in a notable reduction in competition.

This ruling serves as the most compelling indication thus far that the acquisition is likely to proceed as planned.

Microsoft’s Potential Acquisition of Activision Blizzard: A Game-Changing Deal in the Gaming Industry

If successful, the impending acquisition would mark the largest deal in the history of the gaming industry.

Microsoft is keen on gaining control over Activision Blizzard due to the latter’s extensive and highly successful game portfolio.

Activision Blizzard holds the rights to renowned titles such as World of Warcraft, Diablo, and Overwatch, and also owns King, the developer responsible for the popular mobile game Candy Crush.

In the face of fierce competition from gaming industry leaders like PlayStation and Nintendo, Microsoft is striving to remain competitive by heavily investing in gaming content.

By securing compelling gaming content, Microsoft aims to attract players to its platforms instead of its competitors.

While the merger received approval from the European Union, the UK’s decision to block the merger is currently under appeal.

Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley issued her ruling following a week-long preliminary hearing in San Francisco.

Microsoft

The Fate of Call of Duty and the Battle for Gaming Competition Influence the Decision

The fate of the Call of Duty franchise played a significant role in influencing the decision, as evident from the proceedings.

Jim Ryan, the head of PlayStation, argued in a video deposition that Microsoft would likely limit access to the series for PlayStation users or provide them with an inferior version of the game.

Call of Duty is an integral part of Sony’s growth strategy, with twice as many players choosing to experience the first-person shooter on PlayStation compared to Microsoft’s Xbox devices.

A substantial portion of PlayStation owners, about one in eight, spend a significant amount of time playing Call of Duty on their consoles.

Contrarily, Microsoft claimed to have offered a 10-year licensing agreement to Sony for the game and argued that it would make no financial sense to restrict access to such a massive and dedicated fan base.

Bobby Kotick, the CEO of Activision Blizzard, expressed confidence that the merger would benefit consumers and workers while fostering competition in the rapidly growing gaming industry.

It’s important to note that this ruling does not necessarily mark the end of the process. The FTC has separately challenged the merger in a parallel administrative court proceeding.

In other jurisdictions, the impact of the deal on the emerging cloud gaming market played a key role in the decision-making process.

While this aspect was considered in this case as well, the focus of the evidence and the final judgment primarily centered around how the acquisition would affect the console market and whether it would restrict competition.

The FTC, having sought to block the merger, must now decide whether to pursue the case further or not.

For the Microsoft and Activision deal to proceed as planned, they must obtain approval from the regulatory authorities in the United States, European Union, and United Kingdom.

The appeal process is anticipated to commence in the near future, likely in late July.

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Alishba Waris is an independent journalist working for CTN News. She brings a wealth of experience and a keen eye for detail to her reporting. With a knack for uncovering the truth, Waris isn't afraid to ask tough questions and hold those in power accountable. Her writing is clear, concise, and cuts through the noise, delivering the facts readers need to stay informed. Waris's dedication to ethical journalism shines through in her hard-hitting yet fair coverage of important issues.

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