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FTC Wants Details on Microsoft's Deals With Nintendo and Nvidia, More on ZeniMax Exclusivity Plan

FTC Wants Details on Microsoft's Deals With Nintendo and Nvidia, More on ZeniMax Exclusivity Plan - News

by William D'Angelo , posted 4 days ago / 4,461 Views

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the US in a document posted yesterday wants more information on Microsoft's 10-year deals with Nintendo and Nvidia, as well as more details on Microsoft's exclusivity plans with ZeniMax games.

"Microsoft has recently sought to enter into agreements regarding making Activision content available on certain third parties’ services," wrote the FTC.

"Despite clearly intending to use these agreements in its defense, Microsoft has refused to produce underlying internal documents related to these agreements, or communications with third parties other than Nvidia, Nintendo, and Sony. Microsoft should be not permitted to introduce or rely on these agreements without producing the requested underlying discovery."

FTC Wants Details on Microsoft's Deals With Nintendo and Nvidia, More on ZeniMax Exclusivity Plan

The FTC is requesting to get all documents related to exclusivity of ZeniMax, as well as proposed plans for exclusivity related to the Activision Blizzard acquisition.

The FTC stated it "requests all documents related to exclusivity of content Microsoft acquired from ZeniMax and exclusivity of content Microsoft proposes to acquire from Activision. In addition to post-Complaint documents Microsoft refuses to produce, Complaint Counsel does not have a complete set of relevant documents from the time period covered by the investigation."

Documents also requested by the FTC include "Microsoft's next-generation gaming ecosystem."

Microsoft this week announced it has signed a 10-year agreement with loud streaming service, Boosteroid and Ubitus.

A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012 and taking over the hardware estimates in 2017. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel. You can contact the author on Twitter @TrunksWD.

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Bandorr (4 days ago)

Interesting. More information is always better.

  • +6
Sogreblute (4 days ago)

Isn't the FTC the ones who excluded Nintendo from the console market because it wasn't "High end"? If that's the case then why would they need to see their contract?

  • +4
twintail Sogreblute (4 days ago)

You're conflating 2 different ideas here. Regardless of what the FTC thinks about Nintendo in the console market doesn't change the fact that MS has made an agreement with them regarding CoD, and the FTC clearly want to cross-check the various agreements. What's being promised, how it's being promised etc etc

  • +1

The point is that MS used the contract with these companies as defense, then were asked to provide the document but then MS didn't present it.

  • 0
withdreday (4 days ago)

The FTC is actually doing their job for a change?

If only they had took a better look at Disney...

  • +3
EpicRandy (4 days ago)

Couldn't the FTC just ask the court to force MS to give them those documents. MS was able to do just that in this case Afterall regarding Sony as a third party relevant to assert context in the industry.

  • +3
Azzanation EpicRandy (4 days ago)

Because Sony are the ones asking to block the deal, thats why evidence needs to be shown as to why.

  • +1
CosmicSex Azzanation (4 days ago)

That is not even remotely accurate. It is the FRC who is in fact seeking to block the deal by filing suit against them. The document request for Sony and Microsft both pretain to something called discovery. Microsoft requested documents from Sony as part of its discovery to establish its defense. Microsoft has already asserted that its deals and acquisitions are intended to increase player outreach. Because of this, additional discovery is required to establish the facts of this defense. Its pretty standard. You can't just claim whatever you want as a defense without providing evidence. If kinda how this whole thing works.

  • +3
Azzanation CosmicSex (4 days ago)

Why do you think the FTC went to block the deal? After Jim Ryan was doing some meetings.. interesting.

  • 0
EpicRandy Azzanation (4 days ago)

That's why MS targeted them specifically but their role in the court case is limited to that of a third party that can assert context to the industry they are not part of the prosecution.

  • 0
Azzanation (4 days ago)

Wtf does Bethesda have to do with anything? God forbid Xbox buy a company to create exclusive content for their platforms. Its been said time and time again, games will be case by case basis.

Weather thats 90% exclusive or not. It was approved and allowed. Clearly other companies are treated differently. Why not look at Mojang..?

  • +2
Brimac19 Azzanation (3 days ago)

MS already has more studios(23)than their competitors. Why do they need more when they are terrible at running their studios!!! They should just invest that 69 billion into their existing studios!!!!

  • -2
Azzanation Brimac19 (3 days ago)

Because why not? They want to grow, why should they be held back because their competitors can't afford them?
Its a buisness.

  • 0
Pemalite Azzanation (3 days ago)

Don't stress. Bethesda has a history of releasing Xbox exclusives even before the buyout.

I.E. Elder Scrolls 3, Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Trek: Legacy.

That would be taken into account.

  • +2
gtotheunit91 (4 days ago)

Yes, please!

Although, not sure what Zenimax has to do with it since it was a case the FTC already looked into prior to that purchase and even the EC said MS didn't mislead anyone when it came to Zenimax. That was open and shut case. FTC must be really desperate to find anything to make their case.

  • +1

EC said MS didn't promised them regarding Zenimax, not that MS didn't mislead anyone or anything similar.

  • -1
Brimac19 DonFerrari (3 days ago)

MS/Phil were very misleading in the run up to the Bethesda purchase!!!

  • 0

Please, do explain. FO76 and ESO are in content parity on all platforms, Ghostwire: Tokyo and Deathloop were PS5 exclusive for a year and both were added to PS+ once the exclusivity period was over along with receiving both games major updates day 1 on all platforms. Not to mention the Quake remaster on all platforms in 2021, Fallout 4 getting a current-gen patch same day on all platforms this year, Skyrim Anniversary Edition released on all platforms at launch, minus the Switch version which came later, and Doom Eternal getting a current-gen patch same day on all platforms.

But please, do explain how MS/Phil were misleading?

  • +1
ConservagameR (4 days ago)

The FTC is trying to best guess what MS' word is worth.

-MS is trying to show they are willing to share (some) AB (franchises) nicely. One has to wonder if it's because the FTC isn't going easy on MS. If the FTC looks at how Zenimax franchise sharing is being handled, since that went through easily, it will give the FTC an idea of how MS may handle AB in the future. Will MS keep sharing nicely or does Sony have a point about hurting the industry?
-MS is making AB deals with other companies. Sony still hasn't agreed though. The FTC probably wants to see if Sony is just being difficult or if other companies are getting better deals or perks, favoritism, etc. If MS isn't being fair, then Sony has a point, and if they are offering the same deal, or close enough, then Sony looks bad.
-AB has (HR related) employee problems, and MS has said they can and will fix them. The FTC would be smart to look into Zenimax and see if any past employee problems have honestly been worked on or fixed since the buyout. If they have that's a plus for MS. If they haven't, then what are the odds that the AB employee problems will be fixed?

The FTC don't have a crystal ball, but they can investigate further to try and make the best educated decision they can, based on the (recent) past and present. XB has changed more recently, so looking too far back in their past wouldn't really be all that useful.

  • 0
Brimac19 (3 days ago)

I think it’s telling that MS was saying they were really only interested in the Mobile division but when it’s suggested that they sell off COD they say no way!!! Again never ever trust MS!!!!!’

  • -2
Brimac19 (3 days ago)

Never trust MS!!! Even if you get it in writing-Never trust MS!!!!

  • -2
shikamaru317 (4 days ago)

I can understand wanting to see Documentation of the 10 year offers for ABK games that Xbox made with others besides Sony, Nintendo, and Nvidia, but asking for documents related to Zenimax exclusivity is stupid, that should have no bearing on this case whatsoever, seeing as FTC already approved that acquisition and would already know that Xbox planned to make most Zenimax games exclusive except for those already on other platforms, like ESO and Fallout 76.

  • -5
Paatar shikamaru317 (4 days ago)

Seeing what the Zenimax documents entails VS how they’ve been enforced allows them to see patterns for how the new deal might be affected. It’s not stupid to ask for them. Good lord.

  • +5
Azzanation Paatar (4 days ago)

It is stupid to ask for them. Not all buisness decisions operate the same. This is 2D thinking by the FTC.

Making 1 pubisher exclusive and having another go 3rd party is a thing. Instead, these brain dead Morons think if 1 is exclusive, they all will be exclusive. Heck thats exactly what Sony is doing with all their studios.

Why dont they look at Mojang? Why is that ignored? Because it doesnt suit their argument thats

  • -1
The Fury Azzanation (4 days ago)

Publisher vs Studios. No one would even bat an eye at MS buying a single studio and making the games that studio is making exclusive, infact they are already doing that with Obsidian and Ninja Theory.

Sony has, for the most part, bought studios they have close relationships with that already made games they basically commissioned or owned rights to.

Minecraft was already on many platforms when MS bought it, it would have not been in anyway financially viable for MS (not Xbox) to limit the game by removing it from those platforms after they purchased it due to why they bought it in the first place.

  • 0
Azzanation The Fury (4 days ago)

Buying a publisher is no different to buying a bunch of studios. Stop pretending its different.
Also Bethesda has always had a close relationship with MS so that point is invalid.

  • 0
The Fury Azzanation (4 days ago)

Stop pretending it's the same, it's not. I have no issue with MS buying studios and having them make games, no one does.

  • 0
Azzanation The Fury (4 days ago)

So whats the difference between buying a publisher who owns 10 companies or buying 10 separate companies?
Ill wait..

  • 0
The Fury Azzanation (4 days ago)

If MS just bought MachineGames from ZeniMax, all it has bought is a studio, a few hundred great developers and staff for sure but it did not buy Wolfenstein. That is owned by Zenimax.

They would then own a superb studio and can get them to make their own games but that won't bring the appeal as Wolfenstein will. Which is why MS bought Zenimax. They didn't want just a good studio, they can and have been buying those for years, they wanted the IPs and market share. Buying a single studio doesn't do that.

Do you think Sony buying Insomnia, Housemarque or Bluepoint has in any way the same impact as MS buying Bethesda?

  • 0
Azzanation The Fury (3 days ago)

Single Studio buyouts can and have owned their own IPs... why wouldnt you want a studio with IPs behind it? Mojang owned Minecraft, they weren't a Publisher. Bungie owns Destiny etc etc.

Owning Zenimax with 10 studios is the same as them buying 10 independent studios only real difference is that having Zenimax means they can focus on publishing their own games instead of Xbox do it.

  • -1

MS was asking to see Sony documents regarding exclusivity deals and even executive performance for more than 10 years in the past but god forbid FTC ask similar documents from MS.

  • +2
tslog (4 days ago)

FTC are ludicrously incompetent.
Any information about the Zenimax deal should’ve been looked into years ago when that deal was approved.

That part is just revenge tactics by the FTC because Xbox mostly won its documents battle again Sony recently. FTC is a juvenile brat looking for revenge.

The most obviously corrupt countries are desperate to block a legitimate deal that actually helps consumers, just proves their corruption.

  • -8
Ayla tslog (4 days ago)

They need to be investigated.

  • -5
CloudxTifa tslog (4 days ago)

Cry more please !

  • -3
ClassicGamingWizzz (4 days ago)
  • -11