Microsoft’s next big move: acquiring Activision


Graphic by Marcus Ludes.

Kent Pham, Staff Writer

For over a year, Microsoft has been attempting to buy the gaming giant Activision for almost $70 billion. An acquisition of this scale has never before been seen in the industry. 

With this deal, Microsoft’s plans to continue building its massive gaming library are moving to the next level. If the acquisition is successful, Microsoft will own huge franchises like Call of Duty and Candy Crush, allowing them to gain a significantly more prominent part of the gaming market. 

This deal has caught the attention of numerous competitors and countries worldwide. The Japan Fair Trade Association (JFTA) concluded that this acquisition would likely not significantly harm Microsoft’s competition. The U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) also believes that this acquisition will not negatively affect competition in the console-gaming market. Microsoft has taken several actions to show that they do not plan on making Activision titles exclusives, hoping to calm fears of a monopolistic market. 

Microsoft reportedly signed a deal with Nvidia to bring Xbox and Activision games to its gaming service, Geforce Now, a direct competitor to Xbox’s service. It has also announced a deal to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo. Another competitor, Steam, was offered a similar deal. It was actually declined by its CEO, Gabe Newell, who believed that a contract was unnecessary due to his trust in Microsoft and its interest in keeping the title non-exclusive.

However, there are still some opposers to the deal. Most notably, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has sued Microsoft for the attempted acquisition, claiming that this suppresses the competition within the gaming industry too much, as they will keep games and content from their competitors. The FTC continues by stating that Microsoft had done it before, as seen when it bought ZeniMax Media for $7.5 billion in 2020, where it is now planning on keeping future releases as Microsoft exclusives. Sony, another industry giant and competitor, has been very vocal in its pushes against this deal. Sony’s recent criticism of the CMA’s conclusion inspired worries about raising Call of Duty’s price and making it only available to Xbox’s subscription service. 

Despite Microsoft’s several recent deals with other companies to bring the franchise to new areas of the market, Sony’s skepticism remains. It is not surprising that Sony is so worried about this deal. As one of the largest companies in the world, Microsoft only grows in power, especially in the gaming industry, as it continues to buy out more of the space. Eventually, it is a possibility that Microsoft will have control over most of the market, especially in the console space.

The deal has not been finalized, and the FTC’s issues with this acquisition have not made it easier for Microsoft. Regardless, there is still a good chance that this deal will be able to go through, especially with all the approvals from the other regulators and companies. If the deal is successful, Microsoft will have the potential to further shape the future gaming industry, strongly impacting consumers and competitors alike.