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posted by Fnord666 on Monday April 04 2022, @05:04PM   Printer-friendly
from the torpedoes-in-the-water! dept.

The Biggest Deal In Gaming Is Under Fire From U.S. Senators:

Four U.S. senators have torpedoed Microsoft's $69 billion deal for Activision. They believe that the consolidation of the high-tech industry and corporate culture of gender misconduct at Activision could expand by the transaction. Democrat senators think that the planned takeover could undermine employees' calls for accountability over alleged gender and sexual harassment at the game developer.

Senators Elizabeth Warren (D), Bernie Sanders (I), Cory Booker (D), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D) are distraught with the fact that Robert Kotick, chief exec of Activision, will remain at the helm of the game company until closing in 2023. With the same head, the culture of misconduct will not go away, they assume. Another point they are concerned about is the consolidation of the high-tech industry in general and its impact on the workforce. Given their concerns, they wrote a letter to the Federal Trade Commission in an attempt to block the deal.

"We are deeply concerned about consolidation in the tech industry and its impact on workers," the letter obtained by the Wall Street Journal reads. "This lack of accountability, despite shareholders, employees, and the public calling for Kotick to be held responsible for the culture he created, would be an unacceptable result of the proposed Microsoft acquisition."

[...] The senators demand that FTC oppose the deal if it finds that it can worsen the negotiating position between workers and companies (in this case, Microsoft represents both entities).

Previously:
Microsoft Set to Purchase Activision Blizzard in $68.7 Billion Deal


Original Submission

Related Stories

Microsoft Set to Purchase Activision Blizzard in $68.7 Billion Deal 27 comments

Microsoft Set to Purchase Activision Blizzard in $68.7 Billion Deal

Microsoft set to purchase Activision Blizzard in $68.7 billion deal:

Microsoft this morning announced plans to purchase gaming mega-publisher Activision Blizzard for a record-setting $68.7 billion. The move, when finalized, would bring franchises like Call of Duty, Overwatch, Diablo, World of Warcraft, Starcraft, and many more under the umbrella of the Xbox maker.

Today's announcement follows on Microsoft's $7.8 billion acquisition of Bethesda, announced just 15 months ago. After some initial confusion about what that meant for Bethesda's multiplatform titles, it has since become clear that most of Bethesda's biggest franchises, such as Elder Scrolls, will not be appearing on competing consoles such as the PlayStation 5.

In an encouraging sign for fans of Activision Blizzard's multiplatform games, Microsoft said in its announcement that "Activision Blizzard games are enjoyed on a variety of platforms and we plan to continue to support those communities moving forward." But Microsoft and Bethesda executives made similar positive noises about multiplatform titles before the deal was closed, only to shift towards Bethesda exclusivity after the deal was finalized.

Microsoft notes in its announcement that Activision Blizzard games would become a part of its Game Pass program, which currently enjoys 25 million subscribers. "With Activision Blizzard's nearly 400 million monthly active players in 190 countries and three billion-dollar franchises, this acquisition will make Game Pass one of the most compelling and diverse lineups of gaming content in the industry," the company said. "Upon close, Microsoft will have 30 internal game development studios, along with additional publishing and esports production capabilities."

UK Government Blocks Microsoft's Proposed Activision Purchase 12 comments

UK government blocks Microsoft's proposed Activision purchase

https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2023/04/uk-government-blocks-microsofts-proposed-activision-purchase/

In its long-awaited final report, the United Kingdom's Competition and Markets Authority said that Microsoft's proposed $69 billion acquisition of Activision would "result in a substantial lessening of competition" (SLC) in the supply of cloud-gaming services in the UK. As such, the regulator said that "the only effective remedy to this SLC and its adverse consequences is to prohibit the Merger."

The final report cites Microsoft's "strong position" in the cloud-gaming sector, where the company has an estimated 60 to 70 percent market share that makes it "already much stronger than its rivals." After purchasing Activision, the CMA says Microsoft "would find it commercially beneficial to make Activision's titles exclusive to its own cloud gaming service."

Microsoft has in recent months signed deals with Nvidia and smaller cloud-gaming providers in an attempt to "mak[e] even more clear to regulators that our acquisition of Activision Blizzard will make Call of Duty available on far more devices than before," as Microsoft Vice Chair and President Brad Smith said in a statement last month. But the CMA said these kinds of cloud-gaming deals—which Microsoft submitted to the CMA as a proposed remedy for any anticompetitive effects of the merger—were "limited to cloud gaming providers with specific business models" and thus not sufficient to address the regulator's concerns.

Previously:
Microsoft and Activision Will Miss Their Contractual Merger Deadline 20230115
FTC Moves to Block Microsoft's Activision Acquisition 20221209
The Biggest Deal in Gaming is Under Fire From U.S. Senators 20220403
Microsoft Set to Purchase Activision Blizzard in $68.7 Billion Deal 20220118

Related:
Microsoft's Latest Tactics Show that Gabe Newell of Valve was Right to Worry 20160306

FTC: Xbox-Exclusive Starfield is “Powerful Evidence” Against Activision Deal 8 comments

https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2023/06/ftc-xbox-exclusive-starfield-is-powerful-evidence-against-activision-deal/

For months now, Microsoft has sworn up and down that it has no interest in making Call of Duty exclusive to the Xbox if and when its proposed $69 billion Activision acquisition is approved. But as the FTC's request for an injunction stopping that acquisition heads toward opening arguments this week, the federal regulator cites one piece of what it calls "powerful evidence" that it can't trust Microsoft's assurances. In short, as the FTC puts it, "Microsoft's actions following its 2021 acquisition of ZeniMax speak louder than Defendants' words."
[...]
Rather than focusing on what it calls a "strained analogy" to ZeniMax, Microsoft would prefer the court look at Microsoft's purchase of Minecraft-maker Mojang, which has continued to publish the game on a variety of platforms after becoming part of Microsoft. This is a better analogy for Call of Duty, Microsoft writes, because Minecraft was similarly "an existing, multi-player, cross-platform franchise like COD."
[...]
Call of Duty is unlike Minecraft, the FTC argues, in part because Minecraft is available in largely the same form on mobile phones, tablets, and the Switch. "Even if Microsoft took Minecraft off of rival consoles and subscription and cloud gaming services, it would still be available for play on many other devices. The context for Call of Duty is very different."

Regardless, the FTC also argues that this manufactured categorization doesn't matter, because Microsoft's exclusivity decision applied to "all future ZeniMax games." While Microsoft said in 2021 that "some" future Bethesda games would be Xbox exclusives, no Bethesda non-exclusives have been announced since then.

Previously:
US Moves to Block Microsoft's Activision Takeover - 20230613
Microsoft and Activision Will Miss Their Contractual Merger Deadline - 20230115
FTC Moves to Block Microsoft's Activision Acquisition - 20221209
The Biggest Deal in Gaming is Under Fire From U.S. Senators - 20220403

Related:
Microsoft Acquires ZeniMax Media and Bethesda Softworks for $7.5 Billion - 20200921


Original Submission

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  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 04 2022, @05:10PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 04 2022, @05:10PM (#1234811)

    The fuss about abuse is a red herring. A court can shove people aside as needed, or they can even be internally sequestered as needed. These are all problems with available solutions for which the independence of Activision isn't a prerequisite.

    Consolidation doesn't have an impact anyway, unless it's literal consolidation in a car crusher or by hurling people into the grand canyon. It might have an effect, but not an impact; but regardless of illiteracy on the part of national figures, their strongest argument is against consolidation in the interests of a more varied corporate environment. This is one situation where they have a commercially meaningful contribution. The rest is politically correct waffling.

  • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Monday April 04 2022, @05:11PM (3 children)

    by Freeman (732) on Monday April 04 2022, @05:11PM (#1234812) Journal

    This is Microsoft scooping up a publisher that is receiving some seriously bad publicity. Activision could use the restructuring and bail-out at this point. Considering the current climate, I'd say it's 50/50 as to whether the deal will be allowed. In the event the deal is allowed, it's definitely a good thing for Activision. They've burned through all of their good will.

    --
    Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 04 2022, @06:08PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 04 2022, @06:08PM (#1234818)

      Activision could save a lot of money by just replacing their marketing, PR and customer service teams with posters of goatse, six feet tall.

      • (Score: 4, Funny) by Freeman on Monday April 04 2022, @06:48PM (1 child)

        by Freeman (732) on Monday April 04 2022, @06:48PM (#1234828) Journal

        They could call it on-brand advertising for the Diablo Franchise . . .

        --
        Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
        • (Score: 3, Touché) by Thexalon on Tuesday April 05 2022, @12:13PM

          by Thexalon (636) on Tuesday April 05 2022, @12:13PM (#1234959)

          Well, the advertising for Diablo Immortal was a giant middle finger to the fanbase, so yeah, it would fit.

          --
          The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
  • (Score: 5, Funny) by DannyB on Monday April 04 2022, @07:33PM

    by DannyB (5839) on Monday April 04 2022, @07:33PM (#1234834) Journal

    A game company merger is UNDER FIRE from US Senators. It is your job to bring all your knowledge, skills and tools to the enemy so that the merger can be completed by the time you reach level seven. You can choose the colors of either team; the company doing the acquiring or the company being acquired. In order for you to win, you must not use up all your lives and you must be on the winning team.

    --
    Reminder: March is National Procrastination Week.
  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Monday April 04 2022, @07:38PM (4 children)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Monday April 04 2022, @07:38PM (#1234835)

    Seriously?

    How about: Microsoft is already way past the point where past administrations would have Sheman'ed their collective ass into several chunks, and this would make it even more of a monopoly?

    • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 04 2022, @07:43PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 04 2022, @07:43PM (#1234839)

      Didn't you notice, they're Democrats.

    • (Score: 3, Touché) by Immerman on Tuesday April 05 2022, @02:48AM (1 child)

      by Immerman (3985) on Tuesday April 05 2022, @02:48AM (#1234911)

      Yeah... seems like an indefinite complete prohibition on mergers and acquisitions should be a mandatory minimum penalty for a convicted abusive monopolist. Come back after a decade to have your conduct re-evaluated and, if it's been beyond reproach, possibly enter a probationary period requiring consent of a jury of your victims.

      • (Score: 1, Offtopic) by DeathMonkey on Tuesday April 05 2022, @07:55PM

        by DeathMonkey (1380) on Tuesday April 05 2022, @07:55PM (#1235069) Journal

        Getting let completely off the hook by the President of the United States of America will do that!

        Bush hasn't been in office for decades now though. Instead or rehashing the early 2000s what should we do about it now?

    • (Score: 1, Offtopic) by DeathMonkey on Tuesday April 05 2022, @07:48PM

      by DeathMonkey (1380) on Tuesday April 05 2022, @07:48PM (#1235065) Journal

      They were found guilty by the Clinton admin but then their sentence was commuted by the Bush admin. There's no double-jeopardy in this country so he we are.

      Now that you know why we can't relitigate the past do you think prohibiting this merger is a good idea?

  • (Score: 2) by Snotnose on Monday April 04 2022, @09:43PM

    by Snotnose (1623) on Monday April 04 2022, @09:43PM (#1234867)

    Granted, I would have been more OK 40 years ago before we got the whole Exxon/Mobile thing, but that's water under the bridge.

    Somebody in the US government decides they didn't get enough campaign contributions to torpedo a Mega Merger? I'm all for that.

    Problem is, the next Mega Merger folks will take notice and up their bribes, oops my bad, campaign contributions.

    --
    I hate it when I see an old person, then realize we went to high school together.
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Gaaark on Monday April 04 2022, @09:57PM (4 children)

    by Gaaark (41) on Monday April 04 2022, @09:57PM (#1234869) Journal

    To me, it should be more about cancelling the deal because we NEED competition, not a lack of it.

    Let these big corps swallow all the small guys, thus eliminating all competition... that's smart!.... wait...isn't Capitalism ABOUT competition???

    Let's see: "Central characteristics of capitalism include capital accumulation, competitive markets, price system, private property, property rights recognition, voluntary exchange, and wage labor"

    So, if we reduce competition, that's good for everyone.... wait.... what?

    --
    --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
    • (Score: 2) by MIRV888 on Monday April 04 2022, @11:14PM (3 children)

      by MIRV888 (11376) on Monday April 04 2022, @11:14PM (#1234877)

      We've arrived once again. You can count a number of companies on your fingers that effectively have monopolies on their markets.
      Historically our current economic predicament reminds me of the late 1800's just before Teddy.
      As long as I can still get an original rom of Pitfall I'm all good.

      • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 04 2022, @11:51PM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 04 2022, @11:51PM (#1234884)

        Unlike Socialism where oligarchical dictatorships are (covers ears) unheard of.

        • (Score: 2) by MIRV888 on Tuesday April 05 2022, @06:33AM (1 child)

          by MIRV888 (11376) on Tuesday April 05 2022, @06:33AM (#1234927)

          Europe, Canada, Japan, New Zealand & Australia would disagree.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 05 2022, @12:34PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 05 2022, @12:34PM (#1234960)

            They may, however, none of those countries nor any of the countries in Europe is Socialist.

  • (Score: 0, Flamebait) by ChrisMaple on Tuesday April 05 2022, @12:55AM (2 children)

    by ChrisMaple (6964) on Tuesday April 05 2022, @12:55AM (#1234896)

    Sanders is a communist and accepted a bribe to bow out out of the 2016 election. He's a New England nutcase. Nothing he proposes should be considered to be good for the United States.

    Warren is a proven liar. She's grandstanding in an attempt to get the 2024 Democratic Presidential nomination.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 05 2022, @07:44AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 05 2022, @07:44AM (#1234934)

      Chris Maple is a Republican!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 05 2022, @01:05PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 05 2022, @01:05PM (#1234964)

      Shut up, trumptard.

  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 05 2022, @02:23AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 05 2022, @02:23AM (#1234904)

    Were it not for (proprietary) gaming, more people would've switched to Linux by now.

    • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Tuesday April 05 2022, @02:10PM

      by Freeman (732) on Tuesday April 05 2022, @02:10PM (#1234979) Journal

      That is entirely possible, but Linux until recently was a pretty hard sell to the computer illiterate. Now, you can get just as awful of an experience using Microsoft/Apple/Google as Linux. You're just less likely to have support options for Linux. Then again, if you're relying on X buddy to help you with the computers and they are recommending Linux. Then you may be likely to take their recommendation. So long as you can get help from said buddy.

      --
      Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
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