Gamers Sue Microsoft To Halt Activision Purchase

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Software giant Microsoft faces fresh legal action in US courts to halt its $69bn acquisition of Activision Blizzard

Microsoft has been hit with a fresh lawsuit this week from a group of consumers seeking to halt one of its biggest acquisitions.

CNN reported that a private consumer lawsuit has been filed in the US, that alleges Microsoft’s $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard will unlawfully restrict competition in the video game industry.

Microsoft is already facing significant regulatory and competitor pushback over the acquisition, despite Redmond offering Sony a 10-year contract for the same ‘Call Of Duty’ cross-platform release dates on its PlayStation as on its Xbox platform.

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Private lawsuit

According to CNN the private consumer lawsuit against Microsoft was filed on Tuesday in federal court in California.

It comes after the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a case earlier this month with an administrative law judge seeking to stop Microsoft, owner of the Xbox console, from completing the largest-ever acquisition in the video-gaming market.

The private lawsuit reportedly seeks an order to block Microsoft from acquiring Activision. It was filed on behalf of 10 video game players in California, New Mexico and New Jersey.

The proposed acquisition would give Microsoft “far-outsized market power in the video game industry,” the complaint alleged, “with the ability to foreclose rivals, limit output, reduce consumer choice, raise prices, and further inhibit competition.”

Monopolistic mergers

A representative for Microsoft did not immediately comment on Tuesday, CNN reported.

In a statement, plaintiffs’ attorney Joseph Saveri in San Francisco was quoted as saying, “As the video game industry continues to grow and evolve, it’s critical that we protect the market from monopolistic mergers that will harm consumers in the long run.”

Under the US legal system, private plaintiffs can pursue antitrust claims in American court, even while a related US agency case is pending.