Video game players are suing Microsoft in a US court to stop the acquisition of Activision

Dec 20 (Reuters) – Microsoft Corporation (MSFT.O) The final blow was dealt Tuesday in a US court with a consumer lawsuit calling for the tech company’s $69 billion bid for Call of Duty Inc. Activision Blizzard Inc. (ATVI.O) It will unlawfully crush competition in the video game industry.

the complaint A case was filed in federal court in California about two weeks after the US Federal Trade Commission brought a case before an administrative law judge seeking to prevent Microsoft, the owner of the Xbox console, from completing the largest acquisition ever in the video game market.

The private suit also seeks an injunction preventing Microsoft from acquiring Activision. Filed on behalf of 10 video game players in California, New Mexico and New Jersey.

The proposed acquisition would give Microsoft “huge market power in the video game industry,” the complaint alleged, “with the ability to block out competitors, limit production, reduce consumer choice, raise prices, and further inhibit competition.”

The Microsoft logo is seen on a smartphone placed over the Activision Blizzard logo shown in this illustration taken January 18, 2022. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration

A Microsoft representative on Tuesday defended the deal, saying in a statement that it “will expand competition and create more opportunities for gamers and game developers.” After filing a lawsuit with the Federal Trade Commission, Microsoft President Brad Smith said, “We have complete confidence in our case and welcome the opportunity to present our case in court.”

In a statement, plaintiffs’ San Francisco attorney Joseph Savery said, “As the video game industry continues to grow and develop, it is critical that we protect the market from monopolistic mergers that will harm consumers in the long term.”

Private plaintiffs can file antitrust claims in a US court, even while a related US agency case is pending. The acquisition, announced in January, faces antitrust scrutiny in the European Union.

The FTC previously said it had sued to prevent “Microsoft from taking control of a leading independent game studio.” The agency said the merger would harm competition between rival gaming platforms from Nintendo Co Ltd (7974.T) and Sony Group Corporation (6758.T).

(Reporting by Mike Scarcella). Editing by Lee Jones, Cynthia Osterman and Jonathan Otis

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