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Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard transaction negatively impacts right to privacy




Microsoft announced last week that it will acquire Activision Blizzard, the game giant responsible for mega-hits such as Overwatch, Diablo, Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Candy Crush.

The recent $ 70 billion acquisition of a troubled game studio shows that large tech companies are increasingly tending to buy and merge smaller tech companies to strengthen the power of the tech industry. increase. This biased concentration of electricity hurts industry consumers and small competitors. Many prominent members of the Biden administration are calling for tighter regulations on technology to curb antitrust and antitrust laws, but their focus on the industry also raises privacy issues.

Microsoft already owns the popular Xbox console platform and profitable gaming franchises such as Halo, Forza, Age of Empires, and Minecraft. The Activision Blizzard deal could be even more influential as it is Microsoft’s second major gaming studio purchased within a year. Just last March, Microsoft announced that it would acquire ZeniMax, the parent company of popular gaming studio Bethesda Softworks, for $ 7 billion. Bethesda is the creator of game franchises such as Fallout, Doom, and Wolfenstein.

It’s clear that Microsoft is working to take over most of the gaming market. Investors certainly thought so. Console game rival Sony’s stock price fell sharply shortly after Microsoft’s announcement. With the acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Microsoft is expanding beyond mobile games to potentially new areas such as virtual reality and augmented reality. Microsoft’s announcement said the acquisition would provide a component of the Metaverse.

Coincidentally, on the same day, Federal Trade Commission Chairman Lina Khan and Assistant Secretary of Justice Jason Canter modernized guidelines for merger guidelines that could limit or block transactions just announced by Microsoft. Announced a plan to change. When FTC and the Ministry of Justice regulators consider the acquisition of Activision Blizzard, they need to consider not only the competitive effect on the market, but also the competitive issues related to consumer protection and data privacy. Not only do Microsoft gain market share, intellectual property, and employees, but they also play to get more consumer data in the process.

It’s clear that Microsoft is working to take over most of the gaming market.

By expanding games to consoles, PCs, the cloud, mobiles, and even the Metaverse, Microsoft is paving the way for attracting consumers and collecting and using consumer data. Different types of data are collected from different gaming platforms. For example, mobile gaming apps can collect data related to phone usage behavior, such as location tracking. If Microsoft plans to expand its offering of Metaverse-related virtual and augmented reality games, this means that the collection of biometric data will also increase significantly, which is what we collected in the obsolete Xbox Kinect console. It can be much higher.

The Activision Blizzard contract means more user data for Microsoft (and already has access to quite a lot of users). This should be relevant to all of us. The privacy risks associated with data collection are exacerbated when a company can collect large amounts of data from different sources, all with the same individual. There is a high possibility that the data will be misused, and that personal data will be misused or re-identified.

Privacy and antitrust law are intertwined. The larger and more powerful technology companies are, the more data they can collect and use from individuals. Similarly, the more data a company has, the harder it is for other companies to compete. For example, if a company has access to billions of data points about user behavior and preferences, it may be able to meet consumer demand more than a small business that lacks those resources. This delays innovation and increases the risk of compromising consumer privacy.

Companies with high market share are often well equipped to form legal and regulatory conversations. This has helped major tech companies circumvent privacy regulations for quite some time.

The deal between Microsoft and Activision Blizzard speaks to the great potential for profit in the gaming industry. But it also raises a source of concern. Even if the deal closes, it’s another example of a tech company buying a small business to focus market power. Appointers familiar with Bidens’ antitrust law are unlikely to ignore this trend. This means that tighter regulation is imminent.

As consumers, we deserve a market that offers innovation and opportunities. As individuals, we deserve digital rights like data privacy. And as a gamer, you deserve to be able to fight for hordes without worrying about how Microsoft processes your data.




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