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Microsoft files response to antitrust action

Microsoft filed a response on Thursday to a Federal Trade Commission suit trying to block a $68.7 billion deal to acquire Activision Blizzard. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
Microsoft filed a response on Thursday to a Federal Trade Commission suit trying to block a $68.7 billion deal to acquire Activision Blizzard. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 23 (UPI) -- Microsoft has filed a response to a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) lawsuit seeking to block a $68.7 billion deal to acquire Activision Blizzard.

The deal would be the largest in the history of the video games industry if it goes through. Particular concerns have been raised about the fate of Activision Blizzard's blockbuster Call of Duty franchise.

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In the filing Thursday, Microsoft said the deal would not harm competition, noting that the company publicly pledged to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo if the deal goes forward. Microsoft that they they have offered a 10-year deal to Sony for simultaneous releases of Call of Duty games, but that Sony refuses to accept the deal.

"The acquisition of a single game by the third-place console manufacturer cannot upend a highly competitive industry. That is particularly so when the manufacturer has made clear it will not withhold the game," reads the filing from Microsoft's legal team.

"The fact that Xbox's dominant competitor has thus far refused to accept Xbox's proposal does not justify blocking a transaction that will benefit consumers. Giving consumers high-quality content in more ways and at lower prices is what the antitrust laws are supposed to promote, not prevent."

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The FTC had argued exclusive control over Activision Blizzard's franchises would facilitate price fixing and remove a major incentive to produce quality content.

"With control over Activision's blockbuster franchises, Microsoft would have both the means and motive to harm competition by manipulating Activision's pricing, degrading Activision's game quality or player experience on rival consoles and gaming services, changing the terms and timing of access to Activision's content, or withholding content from competitors entirely, resulting in harm to consumers," read a press release from the FTC on Dec. 8.

Microsoft recently announced plans to raise the price of first-party games from $60 to $70 in 2023.

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