Skip to main content

Microsoft wins FTC case, removing Xbox’s biggest Activision Blizzard acquisition hurdle

Xbox acquired Activision Blizzard on January 18, 2022, and gained the rights to Call of Duty, Candy Crush, and more.
Microsoft

Following a multi-week court case, Microsoft has won its battle with the Federal Trade Commission regarding its proposed Activision Blizzard acquisition. The ruling is a major win for Microsoft’s troubled deal, clearing the biggest hurdle it faced.

Last January, Microsoft announced its intention to acquire Activision Blizzard for $69 billion. The blockbuster announcement immediately raised antitrust concerns, which resulted in the FTC filing a legal challenge in December 2022. Microsoft has not been able to proceed with the acquisition since then, as its faced similar scrutiny in the U.K.

After a court case filled with revelations about the gaming industry’s inner workings, Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley ruled in favor of Microsoft. That decision means that the company can continue its acquisition process, paving the way for it to officially buy the Call of Duty publisher.

The FTC’s case against Microsoft was built around the idea that the deal would ultimately hurt consumers. A good deal of the case revolved around whether or not Microsoft would make franchises like Call of Duty exclusive to Xbox platforms, something Microsoft has repeatedly claimed it would not do. Microsoft was successfully able to convince the court of that fact, as Judge Corley cited the company’s commitment to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation for 10 years and bring the series to Nintendo platforms.

Our statement on today's decision: pic.twitter.com/jRDD8PhBeT

— Brad Smith (@BradSmi) July 11, 2023

Following the ruling, Microsoft President Brad Smith put out a statement on Twitter thanking the San Francisco court for the decision. “As we’ve demonstrated consistently throughout this process, we are committed to working creatively and collaboratively to address regulatory concerns,” it reads.

Microsoft isn’t totally out of the woods yet. The company still needs to win its case in the United Kingdom, where the country’s Competition and Markets Authority has raised concerns over cloud gaming.

Editors' Recommendations

Giovanni Colantonio
Giovanni is a writer and video producer focusing on happenings in the video game industry. He has contributed stories to…
Xbox lays off 1,900 developers, cancels Blizzard’s survival game
A hunter crouches before footprints in Blizzard concept art.

Concept art from a now-cancelled Blizzard survival game. Blizzard Entertainment

Microsoft is laying off around 8% of its Gaming Workforce, affecting game developers across Xbox, ZeniMax Media, and the newly acquired Activision Blizzard.

Read more
How to watch January 2024’s Xbox Developer_Direct
Senua stares ahead wearing war paint.

Microsoft will hold the first notable video game showcase of 2024 today with its second annual Developer_Direct showcase. As Microsoft comes off a successful 2023 with games like Hi-Fi Rush, Starfield, and Forza Motorsport, this show is poised to give us an in-depth view of the development of games coming this year, like Senua's Saga: Hellblade II and Avowed. Plus, we'll see MachineGames' Indiana Jones game in action for the first time.

Xbox fans who are curious about the company's lineup of games over the next year or so will definitely want to tune into the January 2024 Developer_Direct. To help those planning to watch, we've rounded up information on when and where you can watch and what you should expect from it.
When is January 2024's Xbox Developer_Direct?
2024's Xbox Developer_Direct will begin at 12 p.m. PT today, January 18. Microsoft has not confirmed a specific length, but it's expected to be under an hour long because as The Elder Scrolls Online Global Reveal live stream will take place after the Developer_Direct at 1 p.m. PT.
How to watch January 2024's Xbox Developer_Direct
Developer_Direct 2024

Read more
These Activision Blizzard games need to come to Xbox Game Pass this year
Sekiro easy mode mod FromSoftware Souls games gameplay difficulty

In October 2023, Microsoft completed its acquisition of Activision Blizzard, and by the end of the year, the latter company's CEO had departed. Now, this will be the year where we’ll see how Activision Blizzard functions when fully integrated into Microsoft. The most immediate change for those who play games will likely be Activision Blizzard titles coming to Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft’s subscription service.

Microsoft and Activision have explained that because of the tribulations the acquisition encountered, it was impossible to have Xbox Game Pass additions prepared almost immediately after the acquisition, as it did with ZeniMax Media. In the coming months, I expect we’ll finally start to see Activision Blizzard games trickle onto the service, even if we shouldn't expect it from this week's Developer_Direct. As Activision Blizzard is one of the oldest game publishers out there, having released hundreds of games, there are plenty of titles to choose from. I’ve cherry-picked the ones I want to see most.
Diablo IV

Read more