Dark or Light

Microsoft Claims FTC's Lawsuit To Stop Activision Blizzard Purchase Is Unconstitutional

Joseph Bradford Posted:
News 0

In a repose today to the FTC's lawsuit against Microsoft for its designs to purchase Activison Blizzard, the tech giant has claimed that the approach by the Federal Trade Commission violates the company's constitutional rights.

The legnthy response by Microsoft claims in multiple spots that the FTC's lawsuit aimed at halting the purchase of Activision Blizzard is unconsititutional, claiming it violates Microsoft's rights under Article II, Article III and the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution.

Microsoft also didn't mince words when defending itself against the main public attack by rival Sony surrounding Call of Duty and its availability on other platforms. Microsoft, defending itself, states in the response that "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 it clear it will not withhold the game." It also maintains a vital reason for the acquisition is to allow Microsoft to be more comeptitive in mobile.

However, the defense also takes particular aim at the FTC's lawsuit itself, stating that the proceedings by the government agency violate the US Constitution, namely the Fifth Amendment, and Articles II and III's clauses of the separation of powers.

Microsoft even mocked up some handy charts to show just how much they lag behind Nintendo and Sony in both the console race, mobile and platform exclusives, a strategy the company has been using for months to convince government bodies why it should be able to purchase the publishing giant.

Microsoft reiterated as well that it has no plans to remove Sony from the distribution of Call of Duty, stating that it makes "no financial sense" to do so.

"It is therefore unsurprising that after nearly a full year investigating this transaction, receiving millions of Microsoft and Activision documents, and speaking to over a dozen witnesses, there is no evidence that Xbox intends to take Call of Duty away from PlayStation—or any platform at all. No emails, no text messages, no testimony. There is one reason for that: Xbox does not intend to take that step. Xbox has some exclusive games, which are a necessary feature of any content business. But Xbox cannot afford to take Activision’s games exclusive without undercutting the basic economics of the transaction. That is why Microsoft has offered to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation from the moment this deal was announced."

Microsoft also defends its purchase of ZeniMax, which has come under fire by the FTC for Microsoft's decision to bring titles exclusive to Xbox and PC. Microsoft points out that after that deal closed, the first two new titles by ZeniMax, Deathloop and Ghostwire Tokyo were exclusive still to PlayStation for the first year after release. Microsoft does confim that three future titles, all redacted, will be exclusive to Microsoft's Xbox and on Windows. Microsoft also reiterates that if the sale goes through it plans to release Activision Blizzard titles day and date on Xbox Game Pass, making those titles more broadly available. 

You can check out the full 37-page document here if you want a little bit of light reading going into your holiday weekend. 


Joseph Bradford

Joseph has been writing or podcasting about games in some form since about 2012. Having written for multiple major outlets such as IGN, Playboy, and more, Joseph started writing for MMORPG in 2015. When he's not writing or talking about games, you can typically find him hanging out with his 10-year old or playing Magic: The Gathering with his family. Also, don't get him started on why Balrogs *don't* have wings. You can find him on Twitter @LotrLore