Microsoft’s road to acquire Activision Blizzard has been a rocky one, to say the least. The most recent (and significant) roadblock comes from the American Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which filed a lawsuit a few weeks ago to prevent the deal from going through. Now, Microsoft has fired back with a response, saying the FTC is violating their fifth amendment rights to due process.
The full document (which you can read here) claims that the deal should be allowed to go through for several other reasons as well, stating that Xbox and Activision Blizzard are “just two of hundreds of game publishers.” The claims that the FTC violates the constitution are listed on page 34 and are just a handful of defenses against the lawsuit in a list of two dozen.
While the basis of the FTC’s lawsuit is that Microsoft’s deal will suppress the competition by limiting access to certain titles, Microsoft’s response claims that “Xbox wants to grow its presence in mobile gaming, and three-quarters of Activision’s gamers and more than a third of its revenues come from mobile offerings.” The FTC does not appear to be concerned with this (their complaint excludes mobile gaming as a relevant market) and instead focuses on the fact that Microsoft will own one of the largest game franchises in the world: Call of Duty.
The acquisition would place Microsoft in a position to make the series an Xbox exclusive, but the company has repeatedly reiterated that they have no plans to make this happen. In this most recent response to the FTC, Microsoft claims that its goal is actually to make the series “more accessible.” In addition to promises that the series would remain on PlayStation consoles, Microsoft committed to bringing the series to Nintendo consoles for the next ten years, throwing any exclusivity out the window.
“The acquisition of a single game by the third-place console manufacturer cannot upend a highly competitive industry,” Microsoft’s response says. “That is particularly so when the manufacturer has made clear it will not withhold the game.”
Currently, it’s unclear whether or not the $69 billion deal will go through, or if Microsoft’s claim of unconstitutional actions will have any effect on the FTC’s intent to block it.