Some Gamers Are Trying To Score A Killshot In Microsoft's $69B Activision Merger

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Opinions across both the industry and the fandom are sharply divided on the merits and maladies of Microsoft's attempt to mix in Activision-Blizzard-King. This procedure was proposed way back in January of this year, and it's faced numerous hurdles along the way, including challenges from UK and EU regulators as well as a lawsuit from the FTC. Well, stack another stumbling block in its way: a group of gamers are filing a federal antitrust suit to block the merger.

The suit is being brought by ten fellows under the auspices of the Clayton Act, originally published in 1914. Among many other things, the Act states (in Section 7) that acquisitions which diminish competition are prohibited under US antitrust law. These ten self-described "gamers" state that they feel Microsoft's purchase of the mega-publisher would reduce competition in the games market.

The complaint points out not only that Microsoft has made many other purchases of major competitors but also that the breadth of titles and franchises affected by this purchase is immense. As the lawsuit alleges, this purchase would bring not only major brands like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft under Microsoft's banner, but also King's games, like Candy Crush Saga. Those would join the likes of Doom, Elder Scrolls, Halo, and all of Rare's IPs.

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The suit claims that, if the merger succeeds, Microsoft would have "outsized market power and the ability to foreclose key inputs to rivals and further harm competition." It specifically points out that the wording refers to competition in both the usual arena of the marketplace as well as with regards to the "specialized video game labor" talent pool, i.e. it claims that Microsoft would have excessive power over the gaming work force.

Microsoft has already made considerable concessions to help this merger along, including committing to supporting Call of Duty on PlayStation "forever", as well as bringing the game to Nintendo platforms for at least 10 years. The military shooter series has been a focus of debate around this merger, and even this latest lawsuit makes a point of specifically mentioning it.