The proposed $69 billion (£56 billion) acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft has been temporarily blocked by a court at the request of US authorities.
“It is necessary to maintain the status quo while the complaint is pending,” the court states of the interim restraining order.
The merger might “substantially lessen competition” in the market, according to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
The 22nd of June marks the beginning of a two-day hearing in San Francisco.
It would be the largest acquisition in the history of the video game business if Activision Blizzard, the developer of Call of Duty and Candy Crush, were to be acquired.
There is disagreement among competition authorities in the UK, the US, and Europe about this. The EU has given its OK to the takeover, but the UK has rejected it. Microsoft and Activision require UK, EU, and US regulatory permission for the acquisition to go through.
The FTC is concerned because the purchase would give Microsoft’s Xbox platform a monopoly on Activision games, thus locking out rivals Nintendo and Sony.
Before the FTC may respond to Microsoft and Activision’s legal arguments against the preliminary injunction, they have until the 16th of June.
Microsoft has said that if it were to acquire Activision, it would be good for the gaming industry and gamers.
It has proposed signing a contractual deal with the FTC to license its Call of Duty games to competitors like Sony for a whole decade.
The European Commission has given its OK to the merger, citing Microsoft’s offer of 10-year free license arrangements as evidence that customers and cloud game streaming services in Europe would have access to Activision’s PC and console games.
In April, however, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) banned the acquisition because of worry that it would lead to less innovation and fewer options for gamers.