"Game On" is The Fly's weekly recap of the stories powering up or beating down video game stocks.
ACTIVISION BLIZZARD: Earlier Wedneday, the U.K.'s Competition and Markets Authority opened an investigation into Microsoft's (MSFT) acquisition of Activision Blizzard (ATVI) to determine whether it creates a relevant merger situation. The agency said it will determine whether the deal could result in the substantial lessening of competition within the U.K. The CMA set a deadline of September 1 for its Phase 1 decision.
The move comes roughly a week after Communications Workers of America president Christopher Shelton sent a letter to Federal Trade Commission leaders supporting Microsoft's proposed takeover of the "Call of Duty" publisher. "We now support approval of the transaction before you because Microsoft has entered an agreement with CWA to ensure the workers of Activision Blizzard have a clear path to collective bargaining," Shelton said in the letter. "Microsoft's binding commitments will give employees a seat at the table and ensure that the acquisition of Activision Blizzard benefits the company's workers and the broader video game labor market. This labor-management compact is particularly groundbreaking and important because it reflects a shared understanding that the current labor law regime does not deliver on the rights it professes to guarantee. Workers who seek to form unions in the United States today face severe barriers to exercising basic rights of freedom of association, with frequent firings of union supporters well-documented but not discouraged through any meaningful consequences." "When quality assurance testers at Activision Blizzard subsidiary Raven studio sought to form a union and requested voluntary recognition, management refused and instead attempted to stymie workers' ability to achieve certification of their union with multiple aggressive tactics now under investigation by the NLRB," the letter continued. "The Raven QA workers persevered and now they are headed to the bargaining table where they have the ability to exchange proposals, discuss market conditions, and share first-hand experiences between workers and management. The outcome will be a better workplace that can lead the industry in high-road practices that incorporate worker voice."
SONY/INZONE: Sony (SONY) is working on a gaming gear brand known as Inzone, targeted at PC gamers, the Washington Post's Shannon Liao reported last week. The company unveiled its new brand with two 27-inch monitors and three types of gaming headphones, the author said, noting that Inzone has been in the development since 2019. "We are entering the gaming gear industry with monitors and headsets at an exciting time, since gaming and esports have gotten even more popular over the last few years," Kazuo Kii, Sony president of home entertainment and sound products told The Washington Post. "We are leveraging Sony's high quality display and audio technologies to deliver products that will allow gamers to immerse themselves into their gaming world."
SAMSUNG GAMING HUB: Last Thursday, Samsung (SSNLF) announced that it is Samsung Gaming Hub, the "ultimate home for gaming" on Samsung Smart TVs. "Instantly play the biggest games from Xbox and other top gaming partners with no downloads, storage limits, or console required. Just switch on your TV and play," the company said. Samsung Gaming Hub includes game streaming apps like Xbox Game Pass, Nvidia GeForce Now (NVDA), and Google Stadia (GOOGL).
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