FTC Economist Witness Fails to Portray the Vast Scale and Scope of Activision’s Games Despite a $69 Billion Sale Price

Featured Video

The FTC recently called in one of its key witnesses in the current hearing about Microsoft’s attempted acquisition of Activision. The intent with this witness, economist Dr. Robin Lee, was to make clear how massive of a force Activision is in the industry, drawing in billions and billions of dollars each year. Instead, the witness in question failed to make clear how large the scope of Activision’s presence is on the industry.

Advertisement

When asked about what big money earners Activision-Blizzard brings to the table, Lee mentioned Diablo and Tony Hawk games chiefly among them. Despite being high earners, and likely both being billion-dollar franchises unto themselves, neither are particularly noteworthy against other major pieces of the publisher’s packed portfolio.

Related: 2019 Email From the FTC Case Shows Xbox Saying It Could: “Spend PlayStation Out of Business”

Advertisement

During Dr. Lee’s time on the stand, the presiding Judge requested an explanation of what sets Activision apart from other studios with regard to industry importance and prevalence. Since the hearing has almost exclusively focused on the Call of Duty franchise up to this point, this was a good opportunity for Dr. Lee to stress the FTC’s other potential concerns with this acquisition. However, that is not the only juggernaut franchise owned by the publishing giant.

The FTC Has Struggled to Make Clear Just How Massive ABK Truly Is

The FTC has struggled to make clear just how much extra power this acquisition would give Microsoft.
The FTC has struggled to make clear just how much extra power this acquisition would give Microsoft.

Activision also includes Blizzard and King, which means it also owns Warcraft and Candy Crush. Those combined with Call of Duty form a major trio of money earners for the company. In fact, in 2021, those three franchises alone brought in nearly seven times as much revenue as all of the publisher’s other franchises combined. Despite the laser focus on Call of Duty throughout this hearing, the FTC has thus far failed to demonstrate the sheer power ownership of these publishers provides.

It is incredibly difficult to overstate just how big Activision-Blizzard-King are together with how much money they pull into the industry in any given year. With that in mind, however, that makes the risk of understating it that much greater. While brought in to make this point clear, instead Dr. Robin Lee made the publisher conglomerate seem like just another small piece of the industry pie, when in fact they form a sizable chunk all alone, even without being brought under Microsoft’s ever-growing umbrella. Arguably, this testimony may have done more damage to the FTC’s case than support for it.

Advertisement

Related: The FTC Trial Gives Us Yet Another Release Date, This Time for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3!

To help make clear just how massive this acquisition is, Derek Strickland of TweakTown wrote up a report on the revenue streams for the company. Just as one example, despite franchises like Halo and Grand Theft Auto being household names, and GTA5, in particular, being the highest-grossing individual game of all time, their overall franchise growth is dwarfed by Call of Duty.

This graph, courtesy of TweakTown, shows just how big one of the three biggest ABK franchises is, highlighting how much the FTC has undersold the scope of publishers.
This graph, courtesy of TweakTown, shows just how big one of the three biggest ABK franchises is, highlighting how much the FTC has undersold the scope of publishers.

As of yesterday, the hearing has ended. The judge is now reviewing the arguments presented and will have a decision before too long. Until then, we will just have to wait. Microsoft is likely pleased with how much this testimony undersold ABK because if the FTC is successful in temporarily halting this deal with this hearing, it is entirely possible the deal falls apart entirely once renegotiations are forced into effect in July.

Advertisement

Are you hoping to see this acquisition go through, or do you want it to fail? How do you feel about this testimony massively underselling the value of ABK? Let us know in the comments and on social media!

Source: TweakTown

Follow us for more entertainment coverage on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube.

Advertisement
Why PlayStation 2 Is The BEST Console Ever (PS2 Retrospective) | FandomWire Video Essay

Avatar

Written by Tanner Linares

Articles Published: 91

Tanner Linares is an enthusiastic gamer with a propensity for babbling his opinions at people who may or may not care. He graduated with a degree in English Writing from Northern Michigan University in 2021. He is also writing several graphic novels with a wonderful illustrator.