Microsoft already has its hands full with the FTC filing a lawsuit to stop the landmark deal - and it looks like the company will get some additional opposition to its acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Google and Nvidia have reached out to the US Federal Trade Commission about Microsoft’s $69 billion deal to acquire Activision Blizzard.
Sources have shared with Bloomberg that both companies expressed concerns regarding the merger. Google and Nvidia have reportedly warned the FTC that Microsoft would gain an unfair advantage in mobile, subscription, and cloud gaming.
However, Nvidia stopped short of expressing full opposition to the merger. The graphics card maker opted to drive home the importance of having "equal and open access" to games. Large companies like Nvidia might be skirting direct language as a strategic move.
Microsoft has previously made upcoming Bethesda games Starfield and Redfall as Xbox exclusives after purchasing Zenimax in 2021. Sony started its opposition to the deal by calling out Microsoft stating that the company plans to make Call of Duty an exclusive title once the Activision deal gets approved.
Google is looking to protect its position in the mobile and cloud gaming space. While the company is scheduled to shut down its cloud gaming service in the coming weeks, it still hopes to partner with other players in the cloud gaming space using the technology created for Stadia.
The company also operates the Google Play Store for mobile devices. Google reportedly paid $360 million to Activision Blizzard so it would not open a competing app store, probably learning from Epic Games' intrusion into digital distribution.
Microsoft reportedly has plans to create an Xbox Mobile gaming store, with the acquisition of Activision Blizzard King being critical to establishing a foothold in the segment. Microsoft shared its plans for the mobile gaming expansion in its filing with the UK CMA.
Nvidia also has a stake in the cloud gaming space with its GeForce Now service. Interestingly, Microsoft was one of the parties that opposed Nvidia’s $40 billion deal to purchase UK semiconductor manufacturer Arm. Nvidia ultimately had to back off the deal.
Nvidia and Google coming forward to express concerns regarding the deal bolster Sony’s position that the merger will harm competition within the gaming industry. The deal has also found opposition from consumers with a group of ten Call of Duty players filing a separate lawsuit to stop the deal.
Microsoft will likely miss the deadline to finalize the merger with Activision Blizzard. The acquisition should be completed by July 2023 before the parties need to renegotiate the terms of the deal. The trial for the FTC lawsuit is scheduled to begin in August 2023.
Microsoft faces a hefty fine of $2 to $3 billion if it does not complete the deal in time.