Microsoft responds to the FTC by once again donning its ugly duckling costume
Against all odds. Microsoft persists in defending its takeover of Activision Blizzard by publishing a new 37-page document. The Redmond firm had until December 22 to respond to the complaint from the Federal Trade Commission, the US competition authority. This merger of the two companies is considered dangerous for the video game ecosystem by the FTC, various manufacturers and publishers, and consumers. However, Microsoft maintains that such a coalition does not represent any danger, and pleads its cause by putting on the table arguments without great freshness.
Microsoft, Tom Thumb
The argument of the Redmond firm is based on a mixture of flagellation and undervaluation, as it had already done when submitting documents to the FTC for the analysis of the file. Microsoft always argues that it is not a big player in the video game sector, since it is overtaken on many points by its direct competitors, Sony and Nintendo. Whether in sales of consoles or exclusive titles, Microsoft would not be in a position of strength against its opponents, from the top of its third step of the podium.
Microsoft also states that its grip on the sector will not be as significant as some fear since its place in the mobile gaming market is almost non-existent: “Xbox has virtually no presence in the mobile gaming industry, which is the largest and fastest growing segment in gaming”. Once again, Microsoft dresses up as the ugly duckling.
call of duty once again at the center of the conflict
In its defence, Microsoft wishes to clarify the situation put forward in the arguments of its detractors. Whether it’s Sony or consumers who have recently filed a complaint, many have reservations about the possibility that Microsoft will make certain licenses exclusive to its platforms and ecosystems. Microsoft continues to maintain that if it gets its hands on the exploitation rights of call of duty, the game will continue to be distributed on all possible platforms. An argument justified by the recent agreement with Nintendo and Steam.
“The acquisition of a single game by the third-place console maker cannot disrupt a highly competitive industry. This is especially true when the manufacturer has made it clear that they will not be holding back the game.”, declares the firm in its document. But consumers noted that Microsoft had made the same commitment in the past before going back on its word. An argument therefore difficult to accept, especially since the firm has announced that it will make the next games from Bethesda, a recently acquired studio, exclusive to the Xbox.
Microsoft representatives stepped up to support the company’s defense. In the columns of The VergeBobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard said: “There is no reasonable and legitimate reason to prevent the conclusion of our transaction. Our sector has enormous competition and few barriers to entry. There have never been so many devices allowing gamers to have a wide range of choices when playing games. Engines and tools are freely available to developers large and small. The breadth of game distribution options has never been greater. We think we’re going to prevail on the merits of the case.”
A conclusion corroborated by Microsoft President Brad Smith, still at The Verge: “While we are confident in our case, we remain committed to finding creative solutions with regulators that will protect competition, consumers and tech workers. As we have learned from our trials in the past, the door never closes on whether to find an agreement that can benefit everyone.”. The alliance between Microsoft and Activision Blizzard therefore seems determined to go through with its project despite its many detractors.