Microsoft's Activision Blizzard acquisition will be reviewed by the FTC in a break from tradition

(Image credit: Blizzard)

Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard will reportedly be reviewed by the Federal Trade Commission, in what's being seen as a break from tradition.

As reported by Bloomberg, the FTC is apparently stepping in to review Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard to see whether the takeover constitutes unfair competition. This would a break from established tradition, chiefly because the Department of Justice would typically work alongside the FTC to review such cases.

Earlier this month, shortly after Microsoft announced its acquisition of Activision Blizzard, the FTC announced it'd be overhauling its guidelines on mergers. While the organization decline to comment on the Microsoft acquisition specifically, the timing of the announcement, which indicated that the FTC would be strengthening its anti-merger guidelines, was one hell of a coincidence.

It could be that the FTC is looking to be harsher on merger rulings going forward. After all, Microsoft's pending acquisition of Activision Blizzard would give it ownership over some of the most popular franchises on the planet, including Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Overwatch, and more. It's not unreasonable, therefore, for the FTC to want to take a long, hard look at the acquisition before it proceeds.

There's been plenty of debate as to what this means for Activision Blizzard's multiplatform games. While some immediately speculated that games like Overwatch 2 would be Xbox exclusive, Microsoft's gaming boss Phil Spencer said the deal isn't meant to "pull communities away" from PlayStation platforms, hinting at multiplatform releases for some games going forward. 

You can head over to our explainer on the Activision Blizzard lawsuit for the latest on the legal proceedings against the developer.

Hirun Cryer

Hirun Cryer is a freelance reporter and writer with Gamesradar+ based out of U.K. After earning a degree in American History specializing in journalism, cinema, literature, and history, he stepped into the games writing world, with a focus on shooters, indie games, and RPGs, and has since been the recipient of the MCV 30 Under 30 award for 2021. In his spare time he freelances with other outlets around the industry, practices Japanese, and enjoys contemporary manga and anime.