Google and Nvidia have both joined Sony in expressing concerns to the FTC about Microsoft’s $68 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard. According to Bloomberg, the two companies have argued that the deal could give Microsoft too much of an advantage with their cloud gaming and game subscription services, with mobile gaming being another source of concern.
These points have all been raised by the FTC, which filed a lawsuit in December to block the acquisition. “In its remarks to the FTC, Nvidia stressed the need for equal and open access to game titles but didn’t directly oppose the acquisition, according to one of the people,” Bloomberg reported.
Nvidia does compete with Microsoft in the cloud gaming market with GeForce NOW, its PC-based game streaming service powered by the company’s own GPUs. However, Activision Blizzard games haven’t been playable on Nvidia’s GeForce NOW for the past 3 years, which is probably one of the main reasons why Nvidia is worried about the deal.
Microsoft does plan to make Activision Blizzard games available on its own Game Pass service if it successfully acquires the company, and this would indeed make Game Pass even more attractive to gamers. However, it will be interesting to see if Microsoft proposes to make ABK games available on GeForce Now to appease the FTC and other regulators.
Google, on the other hand, is a major player in gaming due to its Play Store on Android. However, its Stadia cloud gaming service failed and will shut down on January 18. Microsoft does plan to launch its own mobile games store on iOS and Android, and the company hopes that the acquisition of Activision/Blizzard/King mobile games will help to bring a critical mass of gamers to its new platform.
Microsoft’s response to the FTC is that its acquisition of Activision Blizzard will actually benefit competition by making the company’s games “more accessible to consumers.” Microsoft has offered Sony a 10-year deal to continue shipping Call of Duty games on PlayStation consoles, and the company also offered to bring back Call of Duty on Nintendo consoles as well.