The Federal Trade Commission has said it is launching an investigation into Sony’s planned acquisition of Bungie, marking a significant ramp-up in federal oversight of gaming integration during the major industry consolidation.
According to sources speaking to The Information, last week the FTC began seeking more information about the deal in an investigation that could potentially delay its closure by six months or more. Although a closing date has not been announced as well as the initial announcement, The Information reports that it could be pushed to early 2023.
The FTC has raised concerns that Sony may be trying to stop competing companies and services, such as Xbox, from accessing Bungie’s games, such as Destiny 2. This means testing how popular Destiny is and whether potential limitations will significantly hurt Sony’s competitors. And create breach of distrust. Although Sony has publicly promised to keep the Bungie game cross-platform, its ability to limit both its current title and future releases is a matter of disbelief.
This investigation presents another sign of the FTC’s recent, more aggressive approach to potential distrust issues in the gaming industry. While it is customary for the FTC to look at large deals, the trend of large gaming acquisitions in recent years, as well as the growing size of such deals, seems to have prompted a larger investigation, especially under biden-appointed FTC chair Lina Khan.
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In February, for example, the report suggested that the FTC was similarly investigating the planned acquisition of Activation Blizzard by Microsoft to determine whether it would harm consumers, partners or competitors. And Khan stands at the head of a planned crackdown on consolidation guidelines and similarly pushes a block on a planned Nvidia acquisition and re-launches a no-confidence lawsuit against Meter.
The FTC’s investigation does not mean that the acquisition will be meaningfully affected, especially given the huge legal challenges required to ultimately block a deal. However, increased scrutiny in the gaming and tech sectors will be considered in future acquisitions as more and more large companies express interest in adding to the growing pile of indoor studios and the industry becomes more integrated.
Rebecca Valentine is a reporter for IGN. You can find him on Twitter @ Dak Valentine.