Microsoft took a shocking hit earlier today when the UK CMA decided to block its Activision Blizzard acquisition. The giant will appeal the decision, but this is just a small part of the road. Besides the UK, the EU and US regulators are also monitoring the case. There are multiple concerns involving competition as many regulators and companies in the gaming space fear that Microsoft can benefit itself by making some franchises exclusive to its consoles and cloud services. One of the most profitable franchises in the game world – Call of Duty – is at the center of controversies.
Nintendo at the center of the Microsoft + Activision Blizzard merger
In order to calm things down, MS signed deals with multiple firms in the gaming industry. One of the most notable deals involves a 10-year promise of Call of Duty for companies like NVIDIA and Nintendo. For the former, MS would provide the game in GeForce Now service for 10 years. Similarly, the company has promised the franchise to launch on Nintendo’s consoles for the next ten years. Now, the US FTC seems to be particularly interested in the deal that involves Nintendo. It’s asking MS to provide more info about it.
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The Big N is quickly becoming involved in the merger. The Federal Trade Commission now wants more information about the 10-year Call of Duty licensing deal signed by both firms. However, the report states that the two firms don’t have much else to reveal about this right now.
US FTC wants a live testimony about the “10-year Call of Duty” deal
Anyway, the FTC asks Steve Singer, Nintendo America VP of Publisher and Developer Relations, to deliver up to 7 hours of testimony to the FTC’s Complaint Counsel. The singer was the Big N executive who negotiated with MS to iron out the 10-year Call of Duty licensing deal. It started to take effect on December 6, 2022, when the two companies signed a letter of intent regarding the deal.
As per the report, the agency wants to gather more info on these deals. Perhaps, it wants to go beyond these documents provided in written and documented form. It also needs a live testimony that puts Singer in the spotlight. It’s still unclear what FTC plans to do with Nintendo’s particular info.
Worth noting that FTC is evaluating the case as a whole, especially with Sony’s concerns about the deal. Sony was angry with the 10-year offering of COD on the PlayStation. The company fears future exclusivity as this IP is a vital source of income for the PlayStation division.
FTC probably is gathering info to make a final decision in the coming weeks. As we’ve told you, while Microsoft appeals to UK’s ruling, it will have to wait and accept the decisions of the EU and US regulators.