FTC releases scheduling order for Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision case

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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has released a Scheduling Order for the ongoing case of Microsoft aiming to acquire Activision Blizzard.

According to the Scheduling Order, FTC will not hold a final case hearing until August 2023. Microsoft might miss its aim to acquire Activision Blizzard by June due to the new order.

The closure might take more time, as the August date only marks the beginning of hearings. With Microsoft’s rival Sony opposing the acquisition, the case might extend even further in 2023 for a final decision.

According to Gamesradar, Bobby Kotick, president of Activision Blizzard, expressed his confidence in completing the Microsoft acquisition by June 2023 in a staff email. As of now, Microsoft’s fiscal year ends at the end of June 2023, which explains how this objective came to be.

Kotick assured that he was unconcerned about the June deadline being hampered by a then-new European Union (EU) inquiry. With the new Scheduling Order by FTC, the June goal might not be possible to achieve.

While Microsoft has received approval from many countries like Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Serbia and Chile, saying the acquisition will not affect their market, others claim that it will lead to a huge shift in power for the gaming industry.

The case is currently being investigated by the FTC in the United States and the EU in Europe. Microsoft’s rival in the gaming market and the only competitor to X-Box expressed their concern about the deal, claiming that Microsoft plans to make the games exclusive to their platforms.

Microsoft has responded to the claims, saying the company wants to make the game available to a broader audience and making the game exclusive will only result in fewer sales and losses.

The company even provided a 10-year deal and promised to provide Call of Duty games to Nintendo and Sony devices. While Sony refused the deal, Nintendo gladly accepted. With the current situation and the long wait for hearings, the case may very well extend to late 2023.