FTC stepping in to review Xbox’s Activision Blizzard acquisition

It’s a break from tradition.

Image via Activision Blizzard

For those who somehow missed it, Xbox is set to acquire Activision Blizzard for just under $70 billion. It’s big news — big enough that the United States’ Federal Trade Commission will be reviewing the purchase before it can go through.

The news comes from Bloomberg, which points out that the FTC’s move breaks from tradition. Normally the US Department of Justice works in tandem with the FTC on issues like this. Regardless, the FTC will be reviewing the acquisition to see whether it constitutes unfair competition — there have been some cries from the gaming world about a monopoly. Given that Microsoft sits in third place behind Sony and Tencent when it comes to video game sales, the monopoly claim likely doesn’t hold much water. That said, the FTC could certainly still find cause to stop the sale.

Some would prefer government agencies to keep pressing Activision Blizzard on its toxic workplace practices and not let those issues get lost in the shuffle. Workers are worried their labor movement will be overlooked during the sale. Considering that Bobby Kotick, accused of being complicit in the company’s troubles, will remain CEO through the acquisition, it’s fair to be worried about these issues being swept under the rug yet again.

For Xbox’s part, buying up Activision Blizzard provides an opportunity to beef up Game Pass even more. Xbox boss Phil Spencer wants to see “as many Activision Blizzard games” as possible on the all-you-can-play service.