INGLEWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 03: Signage is seen at The Ultimate Fan Experience, Call Of Duty XP 2016, presented by Activision, at The Forum on September 3, 2016 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for Activision)

Microsoft has not had a horrible week thus far. Not only has the UK Competition and Markets Authority concluded that it has no problem with the Xbox-maker acquiring Call of Duty, but according to GamesRadar, a California court has dismissed the so-called “Gamers’ Complaint” filed against Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

Judge dismisses Activision acquisition case

In December of last year, 10 Call of Duty enthusiasts filed the Gamers’ Complaint against Microsoft(opens in a new tab). They stated that Activision was one of “just a handful of independent game publishers in the world capable of producing the highest production quality and most graphics-intensive videogames” and that any consolidation of such firms would have a detrimental effect on videogame users.

EA effectively put gamers under governmental control once again.

In addition, they said that Microsoft had lied about not having a motive to limit the availability of Bethesda games prior to its 2021 acquisition of that business, which bodes ill for any similar assurances given about Activision Blizzard titles. I’ll concede that the title “Gamers’ Lawsuit” has the same effect on me as a bucket of ice water on a kitten, but none of those arguments strikes me as completely ridiculous.

I suppose this is why I’m not a judge, as these arguments evidently lack merit in California. In court documents published by Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents on March 20, Judge Jacqueline Corley approved Microsoft’s move to dismiss the action on the grounds that “The Complaint does not credibly claim the combination generates a reasonable possibility of anticompetitive consequences in any significant market.”

In particular, the judge finds that the plaintiff’s argument that the merger may have anticompetitive effects is insufficient on its own because it fails to explain “why” and “how” these effects may occur and because the plaintiff failed to provide “factual allegations that support the conclusory incentive assertion.” In other words, the judge believes that the plaintiffs made multiple unsubstantiated generalizations.

“Is it feasible that Microsoft will make the entire or a portion of Activision’s game library exclusive? Yes. Have the Plaintiffs stated facts that make it reasonable that Microsoft will do so? No, “judge Corley stated.

Judge Corley concludes that the plaintiffs’ arguments were “unpersuasive” and dismisses the case. Nonetheless, the plaintiffs have 20 days (beginning March 20) to re-argue their case. I believe they may be neglected. If this merger is blocked, which becomes less and less likely with each passing week, it likely won’t be due to the efforts of gamers.

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