Now You’re Playing with Power
A legal challenge, issued by a party of video game fans against the proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft, has returned to cause more headaches for the publishers concerned — The so-called “Gamers’ Lawsuit” was initially filed in December 2022, but, (as noted by GamesIndustry.biz) was dismissed by a judge last month.
The suit, put together by 10 members of the public hailing from New Jersey and New Mexico, argues that Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard forms antitrust issues, suggesting that the purchase would result in the closure of rival studios, a rise in the price of games, and the inhibition of competition, among other negative effects.
However, speaking in March 2023, Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley dismissed the suit, arguing that “The Complaint does not plausibly allege the merger creates a reasonable probability of anticompetitive effects in any relevant market.” Judge Corley did offer the opportunity for the challenge to be refiled if the new information could be brought to light in favor of the plaintiff’s complaints.
And thus, the Gamers’ Lawsuit was re-filed earlier this week, with a 73-page document which the party claims includes new information pulled from “redacted documents” given to Microsoft’s board of directors, as well as new information which, the suit claims, has come directly from Sony — Another publisher that is going to great lengths to prevent the Microsoft/Activision sale from taking place.
Microsoft responded to the suit in comments to Reuters, stating that the challenge contained “unsupported and implausible claims about the deal’s effect on competition.” Microsoft lawyers have noted that the party “waited 11 months after the transaction was announced to file their lawsuit, and then wasted several additional months filing an implausible complaint.”
The ongoing legal woes surrounding the $68.7 billion dollar sale are set to continue long into the remainder of the year, (and possibly beyond), as Microsoft continues to battle opposition from both Sony and the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC), while also attempting to earn the favor of varying trade bodies from other countries around the globe.