Activision exec says Last of Us HBO success proves Microsoft buyout isn’t a threat

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An Activision Blizzard executive has put forth the argument that The Last of Us’ HBO success proves the pending Microsoft buyout won’t hurt PlayStation.

It’s been a year since Microsoft announced plans to acquire Activision Blizzard for nearly $70 billion. The unprecedented merger continues to stir up quite a bit of drama, too, with the likes of Sony ringing alarm bells.

Notably, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) isn’t in support of the proposed purchase, either. The agency filed a lawsuit to prevent the deal in December 2022, citing concerns that a buyout could harm competition in the console space.

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Microsoft has since responded to the suit in a formal manner. But an Activision Blizzard executive recently threw a new argument into the ring.

ABK exec says Last of Us proves Microsoft buyout should continue

While applauding episode three of HBO’s TLoU, Activision Blizzard’s CCO and EVP of Corporate Affairs, Lulu Cheng Meservey, thought it as good a time as any to talk shop about the Microsoft acquisition.

The executive wrote to the FTC account on Twitter, highlighting the show’s record-breaking success. Meservey went on to note that Sony and PlayStation Productions are behind the adaptation based on the best-selling PlayStation IP.

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The relevance of this becomes clear later in the thread, when the exec laments the FTC’s attempt to block Microsoft’s Activision deal on the grounds that “Microsoft could ‘suppress competition’ from rival consoles by leveraging Activision games.”

According to Meservey, Sony need not worry about such things since its warchest of acclaimed IP allows it to dominate as the market leader in console gaming. And The Last of Us on HBO renewing interest in the games proves “Sony is ‘the first of us’ – and they will be just fine without the FTC’s protection.”

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Using The Last of Us’ HBO series as an argument for why the Microsoft purchase should move forward is an interesting tactic. As many commenters to the thread noted, however, it’s not the soundest rationalization.

After all, a longtime Sony-owned studio created the IP, whereas the FTC’s concerns lie with Microsoft potentially using legacy third-party properties to gain a foothold over the competition. System-sellers such as Call of Duty sit at the forefront of this particular bit of unease.

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Microsoft has made clear its intention to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation for as long as possible. But it seems the back and forth won’t come to an end anytime soon.