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California judge denies gamer lawsuit a preliminary injunction against Microsoft ABK acquisition

UPDATE: Group's lawyers claim to have evidence Xbox planned to put PlayStation out of business, but Microsoft rep says redacted email predates Activision deal

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Orginal Story, May 23, 2023: A US judge has ruled in Microsoft's favour concerning a lawsuit from a group of gamers trying to block the proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

Reuters reports US District Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley in San Francisco's federal court denied the group a preliminary injunction against the $68.7 billion deal.

The judge said the plaintiffs had failed to show they would be "irreparably harmed" if the merger goes through, and was not convinced by their argument that Microsoft would limit their access to titles such as Call of Duty.

Corley also said "it is not likely" that Microsoft will make Call of Duty exclusive to its own platform if the acquisition is successful, and that there is no evidence it would stop current titles in the series from working.

"The day after the merger they can play exactly the same way they played with their friends before the merger," the judge wrote.

The lawsuit was originally filed in December, and dismissed by Corley back in March because it "[lacked] allegations." The plaintiffs were given 20 days to refine their lawsuit and refile, which they did in April.

In addition to this lawsuit, there are still several regulatory hurdles Microsoft needs to overcome.

The US' Federal Trade Commission issued a legal challenge back in December in an attempt to block the deal, and the UK's Competition and Markets Authority has already said it will not approve the transaction (although Microsoft has vowed to appeal).

Microsoft has managed to secure approval from several markets, including the European Union – one of the three key regions it needs to win over, alongside the US and UK – and most recently China.

Our extensive primer on Microsoft's proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard breaks down the process and which markets have approved the deal.

Correction: The headline originally indicated the lawsuit had been dismissed. The ruling was specifically regarding the request for a preliminary injunction, and we have updated the article and headline to reflect this

Update, June 21, 2023: The case continues as it has emerged the lawyers representing the group of gamers have "uncontroverted evidence" that Microsoft plans to "put… Sony PlayStation out of the market," according to Axios.

The evidence centres around an email between head of Xbox game studios Matt Booty and Microsoft Gaming CFO Tim Stuart, although the contents of the message are redacted.

A Microsoft spokesperson told Axios' Stephen Totilo the email was sent in 2019, meaning it likely predates Microsoft's plans to buy Activision Blizzard.

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James Batchelor avatar
James Batchelor: James is Editor-in-Chief at, and has been a B2B journalist since 2006. He is author of The Best Non-Violent Video Games
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