The ongoing saga between Microsoft & Activision Blizzard vs. the FTC continues on Friday, with a lengthy response regarding the FTC efforts to stop the merger.
There has been a lot of news regarding the future of Activision Blizzard since the massive $68.7 Billion dollar deal was reached between the independent developer of World of Warcraft and the house that built the Xbox. The Federal Trade Commission’s recent move at suing to block the acquisition has received a 37-page long response from Microsoft and Activision Blizzard regarding the attempt to merge the two gaming giants. This comes directly after the report from early December of Nintendo and Valve reaching new 10-year deals regarding Call of Duty‘s future on their respective platforms.
Despite naming some of Sony’s primary third-party ‘pay to keep’ exclusive titles such as Final Fantasy VII Remake and Silent Hill 2 Remake, Microsoft President Brad Smith states, “Even with confidence in our case, we remain committed to creative solutions with regulators that will protect competition, consumers, and workers in the tech sector. As we’ve learned from our lawsuits in the past, the door never closes on the opportunity to find an agreement that can benefit everyone,” in regards to the FTC’s anti-trust issues moving forward. Although Microsoft has seemingly played nice with the constant FTC interference, they’ve already seemed to make a move to make titles exclusive to their platform.
Microsoft Confirmed Three New Bethesda Games
The massive 37-page response also details Microsoft’s next steps to have their own exclusive titles developed in-house, with three Bethesda titles leading the charge. The interesting bit is where the response uses precedent to detail how Microsoft will not gatekeep titles immediately after detailing exclusives. The excerpt can be seen below.
After that transaction closed, ZeniMax’s first two new games were made exclusive to PlayStation for one year postlaunch. Xbox anticipates that three future titles [REDACTED] — all of which are designed to be played primarily alone or in small groups — will be exclusive to Xbox and PCs.
But consistent with its historic approach, Xbox has continued to release new updates of existing ZeniMax games such as Fallout 76 and Elder Scrolls Online on both Xbox and PlayStation, because these games are designed to be played together by broad communities of gamers on different platforms. This last set of games is the one most analogous to Call of Duty.
– Response to FTC
So the ZeniMax experience cuts against the idea that Xbox would make that game exclusive. And
it is not just the ZeniMax games where Xbox has taken this approach; Xbox has also expanded
(not contracted) access to Minecraft, a similar multiplayer game with a large existing community
of gamers who play together from different platforms, since it was acquired.
The three future titles mentioned are most likely Starfield, Redfall — as both have been previously announced as Xbox Console exclusives — and it’s up in the air on the third. Speculation can suggest it might be Elder Scrolls VI, or another unannounced title that fits the “designed to be played primarily alone or in small groups” mould.
All-in-all, this battle between the FTC and Microsoft is seemingly never-ending, and it will likely go deeper before resolving. Fans can read the lengthy 37-page document in the meantime.