The Last of Us has been a massive hit for HBO and Naughty Dog. It's even come to a point that the show’s success is now being used as an argument against Sony’s opposition to Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
The Last of Us just released its third episode on Sunday and the show has been officially renewed for a second season. Activision Blizzard’s Chief Communications Officer Lulu Cheng Meservey called out the FTC and used the popularity of The Last of Us as an argument against Sony.
"Hi @FTC — did you catch last night’s episode of The Last of Us? It was incredible," Meservey tweeted. "No wonder the show is breaking records. It’s a true blockbuster, watched by tens of millions."
Meservey states that The Last of Us is being produced by Sony Pictures Television and PlayStation Productions. The show is based on one of the best-selling video games developed by a studio owned by Sony and released exclusively on the PlayStation platform.
"The FTC has opposed the Microsoft - Activision Blizzard deal on the grounds that Microsoft could “suppress competition” from rival consoles by leveraging Activision games," Meservey continues. "It sounds like there’s some worry that Sony’s position as market leader could be jeopardized by this deal."
The Last of Us is produced by Sony Pictures Television and PlayStation Productions.
It’s based on a best-selling video game developed by a Sony-owned studio and published by Sony as a PlayStation exclusive.
Why does this matter?
— Lulu Cheng Meservey (@lulumeservey) January 30, 2023
According to the Activision Blizzard executive, the FTC should not be concerned as Sony owns an "unrivaled warchest of IP, not just in gaming but TV, movies, and music — which can be developed into games, or can market existing games." Meservey uses The Last of Us as an example as sales of the video game have been boosted by the hit TV show.
"Sony’s talent and IP across gaming, TV, movies, and music are formidable and truly impressive.It’s no wonder they also continue to dominate as the market leader for consoles. In gaming, Sony is “the first of us” - and they will be just fine without the FTC’s protection," Meservey ends.
This is not the first time that regulatory bodies have been a target of Microsoft or Activision Blizzard statements. Both parties previously called the FTC unconstitutional in its response to the lawsuit filed by the antitrust watchdog. The filing was revised later on to remove the argument questioning the constitutionality of the FTC.
Microsoft also lashed out at the UK CMA, alleging that the regulatory body is siding with Sony in its opposition to the deal. This new statement is basically accusing the FTC of protecting Sony’s interest.
And just last week, Microsoft’s VP for Communications also alleged that Sony’s Jim Ryan is lying to the EU Commission in his meeting with them to discuss the deal.
Meservey’s tweets received quite a number of replies from fans of The Last of Us. Many have pointed out that Sony created the IP on which the show is based. Naughty Dog was acquired by Sony in 2001, well before the creation of The Last of Us series games.
One Twitter user replied, "The important part is they didn’t buy the IP. They used a team they owned and made a new IP which is something that seems to be completely foreign as a concept to Microsoft. They could create dozens of new IPs for the money they’re trying to spend on ABK."
Microsoft and Activision Blizzard may be grasping at straws at this point. The US FTC and EU Commissions are opposing the deal while the UK CMA is still in the process of finalizing its investigation. The FTC and a group of consumers have sued Microsoft and Activision Blizzard to stop the deal from pushing through.
Using a well-loved TV show may also not have been the best idea. The show is immensely popular with over 22 million viewers in the US and is one of the hottest topics on social media with every new episode.
The Last of Us is streaming on HBO Max with new episodes every Sunday.