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Microsoft-Activision merger: US court hearing begins over biggest ever tech deal

Microsoft’s record acquisition bid for video game giant Activision Blizzard has been brought before US federal court.

Window and Xbox The manufacturer wants to buy the company known for its Call Of Duty, Warcraft and Diablo franchises for $69 billion (£54.2 billion). This will be the largest tech acquisition ever.

But the UK’s competition watchdog blocked it in April for fear it will affect competition in cloud gaming and US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says it will give Microsofttheir platform has an unfair advantage over rival PlayStation as they will guarantee exclusive access to Activision’s popular games.

Microsoft now has a five-day legal hearing to make its argument with the FTC – and the case has brought everything from Indiana Jones to sci-fi role-playing games that become the focus of the courtroom.

Here are the key moments from day one – and what comes after.

Call Of Duty ‘may have skipped Xbox’

Call Of Duty, the longstanding military shooter franchise, is one of the biggest rewards for Microsoft if the acquisition is successful. Latest entry in the series earn 1 billion dollars in just 10 days.

But Microsoft’s Sarah Bond said during a hearing on Thursday that the latest Xbox consoles risk missing out on the series, as Activision wants a new deal that gives them a bigger share of the revenue earned. from the Xbox version of the game.

She said: “Obviously Call Of Duty will be on PS5. That wouldn’t be good if it wasn’t on Xbox.”

Microsoft swore that under its ownership Call Of Duty would still live on the PlayStation, where the series bested, but Sony claimed that its platform would eventually lose out.

Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare II Releases This Month
Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare II is the latest installment in the popular series

Microsoft thinks new consoles are 5 years away

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gamer long wait for the next generation of consoles, if Microsoft’s prediction is correct.

In court documents, the company said it doesn’t expect the next Xbox or PS6 until 2028. This happens because Microsoft says it has offered Sony a 10-year contract for Call Of Duty, meaning that it will appear on the company’s next dashboard.

The 2028 release means eight years after the launch of the current consoles, the PS5 and Xbox Series X and S, both of which were released during the pandemic in late 2020.

Supply chain problems have meant that they have been difficult to find until relatively recently, and demand remains very high.

Microsoft's Xbox Series X (black) and S (white) game consoles are on display at SK Telecom's flagship store in Seoul on November 10, 2020. (Photo by Jung Yeon-je/AFP) (Photo by JUNG YEON-JE/AFP via Getty Images)
Xbox Series X and S releasing in November 2020

Indiana Jones and the exclusivity deal

Never mind his new movieIndiana Jones is currently making headlines with its video game trading.

An Indy game has been in development at developer MachineGames for several years now. This group is part of the company Bethesda Softworks, which is bought by Microsoft for $7.5 billion in 2020.

Speaking on Thursday, Bethesda’s Pete Hines revealed the game is an Xbox and PC exclusive, although the original deal with the Disney franchise owner (before the Microsoft acquisition) will see it released where other.

But Hines also talked about the benefits of being able to focus on fewer consoles, saying Bethesda’s upcoming sci-fi epic Starfield, one of the most anticipated of 2023, won’t is released as soon as September if the PS5 version has also been made.

Starfield releases on Xbox and PC in September 2020. Photo: Microsoft/Bethesda
Starfield releases on Xbox and PC in September 2020. Photo: Microsoft/Bethesda

The next PlayStation and Xbox boss

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Friday will see PlayStation director Jim Ryan and his Xbox partner Phil Spencer go head-to-head (no, not in a… Zuckerberg vs Musk duels).

Spencer will give live evidence at the hearing, while Ryan will appear in a pre-recorded video.

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That means he won’t face awkward questions about an email disclosed at Thursday’s hearing in which he appeared to contradict his public stance by saying that he’s “quite certain” Call Of Duty will remain on PlayStation.

Still coming from now until the last day of testing next week are the likes of Activision Blizzard and Microsoft executives Bobby Kotick and Satya Nadella.



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