Plaintiffs in gamer lawsuit granted 20-day window to improve complaint, vow to resubmit with “added factual specificity.
Microsoft secures temporary victory in an antitrust lawsuit over Activision Blizzard acquisition, as San Francisco judge dismisses complaint from 10 consumers, citing “lack of allegations.”
The plaintiffs had argued that Microsoft’s acquisition would negatively impact competition and consumers in the video game market. Despite the dismissal, US District Judge Jacqueline Corley has granted the plaintiffs a 20-day window to enhance their lawsuit and resubmit it. (read the court documents here regarding the gamer’s lawsuit dismissal against Microsoft.)
The plaintiffs’ attorney, Joseph Saveri, informed Reuters that an improved lawsuit with “factual specifics” will be presented to the California court to address the judge’s reservations.
Judge Corley declared that the plaintiffs’ “broad assertion” of Microsoft’s merger leading to adverse effects such as higher prices, reduced innovation and consumer choice, and lesser output, did not suffice. A hearing is set for April 12 to review the case’s status.
Judge Corley: "Why would Microsoft make Call of Duty exclusive to its platforms thus resulting in fewer games sold? What is it about the console market or PC games market and Microsoft’s position in those markets that makes it plausible … Microsoft would take such steps."
— Florian Mueller (@FOSSpatents) March 21, 2023
Regulatory Challenges Loom for Microsoft Despite Victory in Gamer’s Lawsuit
Microsoft has emerged victorious in the recent gamer lawsuit, but the company’s legal battles are far from over.
The Federal Trade Commission‘s legal complaint against Microsoft is scheduled for a hearing in August, presenting another challenge for the tech giant.
In addition, regulators in the UK and EU continue to investigate Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, particularly its potential impact on competition in cloud gaming and game subscriptions, as well as the possibility of Call of Duty becoming exclusive to Microsoft’s ecosystem.
Microsoft Makes Efforts to Address Regulatory Concerns, but FTC Remains Wary
In an effort to allay regulatory concerns, Microsoft has secured ten-year contracts with Nintendo, Nvidia, and cloud gaming providers Boosteroid and Ubitus, which would include Activision Blizzard titles if the acquisition is completed.
However, the Federal Trade Commission has expressed reservations and has requested further details about these deals.
UK and EU Regulatory Decisions Delay Microsoft’s Acquisition Timeline
Microsoft and Activision Blizzard’s acquisition timeline may be in jeopardy due to the delayed regulatory decisions from the UK and EU.
The UK is expected to reach a final decision on the merger by April 26, while the EU’s decision has been postponed until May 22.
Originally, the deal was scheduled to be completed by June 30, 2023.