Microsoft is now being sued by gamers over its Activision-Blizzard Megadeal scheme

From the looks of it, Microsoft has to deal with yet another lawsuit as the company is now being sued by a group of gamers over the planned massive Activision-Blizzard deal.

Earlier this month, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed suit to block Microsoft’s planned merger with Activision-Blizzard. “The Federal Trade Commission is seeking to prevent tech giant Microsoft from acquiring Activision Blizzard, Inc., a leading video game developer in the video game industry, that would enable Microsoft to suppress competitors to its Xbox game consoles, fast-growing subscription content and cloud gaming business,” it read.Reads the FTC reasoning behind the lawsuit.

Two weeks later, Microsoft is now being sued by several gamers who feel the planned $69 billion deal will give the company “unparalleled prestige” in the gaming industry. As such, the group of players wants to prevent the planned merger. An antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft (not Activision-Blizzard), was filed in San Francisco yesterday by a total of ten plaintiffs who claim to play multiple Activision-Blizzard titles across, for the most part, different platforms. While some of the plaintiffs only use their PlayStation console to play Activision-Blizzard games, others also claim they only use their Xbox console.

“Microsoft already controls one of the most popular and largest video game ecosystems,” the suit says. “The proposed acquisition will give Microsoft an unparalleled position in the gaming industry, placing it with the largest number of must-have games and popular franchises.”

The lawsuit lists all of Microsoft’s acquisitions and mergers from 2014 through the acquisition of Zenimax Media (Bethesda) in 2020. Interestingly, the lawsuit indicates that Rare was acquired in 2022, although this is likely an error. On the date this transaction was completed in 2002 .

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Prosecutors write that “The proposed acquisition of Activision-Blizzard by Microsoft poses a significant threat to Plaintiffs, and to the general public, as the proposed acquisition may substantially reduce competition in each of the relevant product markets, and may cause loss to Plaintiffs, and the public at large, in the form of price higher, lower innovation, lower creativity, lower consumer choice, lower output, and other potential anticompetitive effects, thus depriving plaintiffs, and the public at large, of the beneficial benefits of competition.”

The combination of players also indicates less competition in the labor market since employees have fewer options among employers if the transaction is completed. “This is particularly troubling given that Activision Blizzard is currently mired in lawsuits from employees and from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, alleging it engaged in widespread gender discrimination and sexual harassment,” the plaintiffs add.

The suit is definitely an interesting read and we suggest reading it in full here.

In a statement to Bloomberg Law yesterday, a Microsoft spokesperson defended the planned merger.

“This deal will expand competition and create more opportunities for gamers and game developers as we strive to bring more games to more people,” Microsoft’s statement read.

It remains to be seen where things go next for Microsoft’s planned $69 billion mega-deal, but apparently, this isn’t the last we hear about the critically-discussed deal.

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