The console war reaches new heights as random gamers ask Sony and Nintendo CEOs to testify over Microsoft Activision deal

Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney Trilogy
(Image credit: Capcom)

In December, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of 10 gamers who claimed they "would be adversely affected by reduced competition" as a result of Microsoft's planned buyout of Activision Blizzard, and now those random gamers are looking to get Nintendo and PlayStation's biggest bosses to testify.

This is the "gamer's lawsuit" that you might have heard about at the tail end of 2022, and is completely distinct from the serious FTC lawsuit that was also filed in December. Whether the gamer's lawsuit has any serious merit will, of course, be decided in court, but Microsoft certainly doesn't seem to think so, as the company's lawyers filed a motion for the suit to be dismissed entirely.

That motion-to-dismiss hearing is scheduled for March 9, but in the meantime, a new filing indicates that the lawyers behind the gamer's lawsuit say they've served subpoenas to a number of witnesses for depositions. Those include Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, Nintendo of America CEO Doug Bower, and Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan. The lawyers want a trial in April (2023, that is) and immediate discovery - which is the legal term for exchanging information like depositions and internal documents.

I am not a lawyer, and if you want a more detailed breakdown of what's going on here, you should take a look at the FOSS Patents blog run by Florian Mueller, who was formerly an advisor to companies ranging from (appropriately enough) Microsoft to Blizzard. Mueller says that he believes the "lawyers made a totally overreaching demand by requesting an April trial as well as immediate and unfettered discovery, and I doubt that Judge Corley will consider their positions reasonable."

This is not a class-action lawsuit - there are only ten plaintiffs, after all - but in previous writing about this case, Mueller has noted that similar types of suits in the "class-action business" have had pretty frivolous objectives. "You just spend your time, and you can hope that even if your case is going nowhere, a megacorp defendant may at some point be willing to pay you off to go away, even if only because of the 'nuisance value' (the cost of a proper defense) of your lawsuit."

Or, hey, maybe these gamers just really don't want to have to buy an Xbox to play the next Crash Bandicoot. Whatever the case, we might get to see the results play out on YouTube.

One key European trade union is in support of Microsoft's Activision-Blizzard acquisition.

Dustin Bailey
Staff Writer

Dustin Bailey joined the GamesRadar team as a Staff Writer in May 2022, and is currently based in Missouri. He's been covering games (with occasional dalliances in the worlds of anime and pro wrestling) since 2015, first as a freelancer, then as a news writer at PCGamesN for nearly five years. His love for games was sparked somewhere between Metal Gear Solid 2 and Knights of the Old Republic, and these days you can usually find him splitting his entertainment time between retro gaming, the latest big action-adventure title, or a long haul in American Truck Simulator.