FTC uses Zenimax’s current exclusivity as a primary argument against Microsoft’s ActiBlizz buyout in court

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The long-brewing legal battle between the US Federal Trade Commission and Microsoft has begun in earnest, as this week saw the FTC and Microsoft meet in court to determine if there will be a preliminary injunction on the buyout of Activision-Blizzard, and already the trial’s very first day saw several corporate-level reveals and the government body pointing to Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda as proof of potential monopolization.

As readers know, many of Bethesda’s and ZeniMax’s games became PC and Xbox exclusive after its September 2020 acquisition, and the FTC additionally pointed out Xbox exclusivity for the upcoming sci-fi title Starfield and a developing Indiana Jones game, the latter of which was originally going to be a multi-platform launch until developer MachineGames was bought up by ZeniMax.

The FTC is ultimately claiming that Microsoft is willing to bide its time and wait for 10-year deals to complete before forcing Activision games like Call of Duty to become PC and Xbox exclusives, while most of Microsoft’s counter-argument could be basically boiled down to treating acquisition of ABK less like Bethesda and more like Minecraft.

Other revelations made during the trial include news that Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick wanted a bigger revenue share to put COD on Xbox, that Sony president Jim Ryan felt “pretty sure” that COD would remain on PlayStation in emails (which is a far cry from the company’s public stance), and that cloud gaming is Game Pass Ultimate’s least popular feature according to Xbox Head of Devices Sarah Bond.

Day two of the trial is expected to start today, June 23rd, at 11:30 a.m. EDT.

source: IGN
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