Microsoft acquisition of Activision Blizzard temporarily blocked by FTC restraining order

World of Warcraft: Dragonflight, Diablo 4, and Call of Duty; Modern Warfare 2 images sliced together
(Image credit: Activision Blizzard / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • The FTC has obtained a temporary restraining order to block Microsoft from completing its acquisition of Activision Blizzard. 
  • The temporary restraining order speeds up the court process for the deal, which will now be seen by a judge on June 22, 2023. 
  • Outside of the FTC in the U.S, Microsoft is also appealing a decision made by the CMA in the U.K. 

There's yet another update in one of the biggest ongoing stories in gaming. 

Microsoft's purchase of Activision Blizzard is officially blocked in the U.S. via a temporary restraining order obtained by the FTC, following the regulator's reported attempt to obtain the order. Per the terms of the restraining order, Microsoft cannot finalize its planned acquisition of Activision Blizzard until five days after the case is seen and ruled on by a federal judge on June 22 and 23, or at a day specified by the judge.

Microsoft and Activision must file a brief for the hearing by June 16, while the FTC has to file its response by June 20.

Previously, the FTC had been content to merely sue to block the purchase, with a trial set for the FTC's in-house court in August. This also comes as Microsoft is appealing the decision by the CMA in the U.K. to block the deal. Outside of these two countries, Microsoft has received numerous approvals, including from the EU and China.

If the deal goes through, it will see Activision Publishing, Blizzard Entertainment, and King added to the Xbox first-party portfolio. Blizzard Entertainment recently released Diablo 4, which is the fastest-selling Blizzard game ever so far.

Windows Central's take

Microsoft and Activision Blizzard have welcomed the news, as it means the process is being greatly sped up, at least in the U.S. We'll have to wait and see how things play out, but the U.S. side of this long-running regulatory battle should be wrapped up much faster than expected one way or another, quite possibly before the month is done.

Samuel Tolbert
Freelance Writer

Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.