back to article Video game players sue to frag Microsoft-Activision merger

First the FTC threw a legal wrench in the works, and now a group of gamers has filed a class action lawsuit in California to stop Microsoft from purchasing Activision Blizzard. It seems Redmond just can't catch a break in its attempts to close a $69 billion acquisition of the World of Warcraft maker, which 10 gamers claim [PDF …

  1. Zippy´s Sausage Factory
    Flame

    "Microsoft has predictably argued the acquisition would give gamers more options"

    Of course they would say that. They all say that. Always. Every acquisition is going to be good for the customers and not really so great for everyone else.

    In reality, prices go up (mergers are expensive, but think of the long term savings you'll make), costs go down (because there's always efficiencies to be leveraged) and profits go up (see, everything is working as planned).

    Mergers and acquisitions are always for the benefit of the larger partner in the merger, at the expense of the smaller one. And the result is customers getting charged more for inferior products because... well, there doesn't appear to be any competition around here any more, does there?

    Am I cynical? Yes. Am I bitter and twisted? Probably. Have I actually ever played a Microsoft or Activision game? No to the former, not for over 20 years to the latter. But have I seen mergers happen that have been bad for the customers? Yes - almost every single one I've seen.

  2. flayman Bronze badge

    Meh

    As a PC gamer on Steam, I welcome MS getting its hands on titles. They are more likely to continue to be supported on that platform, as well as Xbox. Windows is by far the best platform for gaming, and MS have identified this market as a major one they want to cater for. Apple is nowhere, and Sony PlayStation really could not be any more noncompetitive or uncooperative, that being the most restrictive platform when it comes to third party add-ons. I won't even mention Nintendo, because they are just totally doing their own thing, which is almost completely divorced from this side of gaming and quite successful in its own right.

    Microsoft of today is a far cry from that same company 10 years ago when Ballmer was running it. Microsoft bought ZeniMax, the parent company of Bethesda Game Studios, last year. It is interesting to note that there has now been announced a next-gen upgrade for one of its major titles, Fallout 4 from 2015, which will be offered next year FOR FREE to existing licensees of that game on PC, Xbox Series X, and, perhaps most notably, PS5. I call that good for gamers. I don't know about the industry, but let the competitors sue if they feel moved to do so. The FTC is already on it. We'll see. These 10 gamers bringing the action are probably just a bunch of guys who have a beef with Microsoft, as I'll admit I once did. That changed for me after MS stopped doing silly things like trying to destroy Linux and started doing good and smart things like actually contributing to it.

  3. J.Teodor

    Why is this particular acquisition so problematic vs all the others?

    Embracer Group has been buying game companies left and right (not to mention, owning now everything Tolkien foundation had), Tencent has their hands in basically everywhere, Sony has been buying what they can and forcing those studios to release PS exclusives. MS buying ABK seems like a desperate attempt to keep up, not cornering the market.

    I am a long time Blizzard fan - I remember when I had to delete everything else from the HDD so I could install both StartCraft and SC: Brood War, playing Warcraft 2 through the night and so forth. Not to mention thousands and thousands of hours of WoW. But the quality of Blizzard games has gone down the drain - or perhaps they stayed the same while everybody else improved. And I cannot see that it could get that much worse with whoever might own them, only better.

    I cannot speak for Activision or King games - I did play the first CoD, but not my cup of tea.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > Why is this particular acquisition so problematic vs all the others?

      Possibly because in this case the acquiring party owns and controls *two* of the major platforms that the majority of these games run on - XBox and Windows.

      Sony is indeed an apt comparison, but have any of Sony's purchases been of a cross-platform developer/publisher with the market power (=popularity of the games) of Actiblizzard? I don't really keep up on consoles, so I honestly don't know.

  4. Jay 2

    As a PS5/Mac gamer (yeah I know, strange combo) I see this as potentially not being very good. MS-owned Bethesda have already said Starfield will be PC/Xbox only, so what's to say they don't start doing that with other games (more so those with new IPs). I know that Sony is getting a bit jittery about not being able to get its mitts on CoD if this goes through. Though I don't know if MS would be prepared to deal that crushing blow, or would like to continue to rake in the cash from such a profitable multi-platform franchise.

  5. RyokuMas
    FAIL

    "higher prices, less innovation, less creativity, less consumer choice..."

    ... sounds like the games industry as a whole for the last 25 years!

    1. Inkey
      Big Brother

      "higher prices, less innovation, less creativity, less consumer choice..."

      Sounds like m$ on the whole for the last 20 years

      There ftfy

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