Few good points raised here. Happy to discuss.
"Why doesn't MS invest in their own studios?"
Nadella has answered this question before, here is a direct quote:
Risk taking and re-inventing the wheel is just not in Microsoft DNA or corporate culture. and because I am doing my best to avoid inflammatory commentary, I am going to concede that this naturally happens any giant company that benefit from the current status quo.
He's not wrong though, while you can build a new studio from the ground up and MS have done so many times in the past, the investment MS is now willing to make, makes it impossible to grow only organically or else it would be decades before they can profits from their efforts. Acquisitions are the only way for such investment. Also MS is growing internally, it's not like The initiative, for instance, was all done the moment they announced it's creation, they are still growing as are all Xbox studios whether build or acquired.
As for union supporting the deals, I don't have enough information to comment on the matter beyond what I see in the headlines. Nor I believe support from the unions = good. This couldn't be more relevant especially how American rail workers got screwed over literally days ago by the union bosses no less. You can watch this video to understand what I am talking about. I know unions support has become a recurring talking point, but unions are not infallible.
Unions' support does not auto = good. However the FTC and political argument that try to argue the deal should be block in a bid for unions is disingenuous.
But adding to that I will argue that Unions' support does = good for unions.
and Unions' support does = good for workers in the vast majority of case and don't think it serve a real purpose to highlight the extremely few of it not being the case in the context of this deal. Unions being good for workers are their purpose after all, if it's not the case anymore it's an argument against unionization not an argument against a deal that unions support.
"With how much scrutiny MS is getting from this acquisition, so who knows who else MS is referring to."
Ubisoft? EA? any studio that gives them a stronger hold over Europe? we've seen countless statements from Microsoft about their intents to buy more studios, literally the next day Bethesda was bought, Nadella said he'd do it again. Similarly after the Acti/Blizzard announced, we heard similar statements from Microsoft. I can see why we may not witness that vulgar display of power these days, but I think it's dangerous to assume that "once Acti/Blizzard is approved, MS won't do it again" because, A, MS said otherwise, B, approving the biggest tech merger in history will embolden MS even more.
Yes and no logics tell me they won't try a deal on that scale anymore unless this one does not pass. The thing is Microsoft's renewed faith in the Xbox division is caused by it's strong beliefs that GamePass could be humongous and that it needs more content to provide enough growth to reach it's potential. But there's a limit to this. There's a point where pumping new content faster won't do anything anymore as you'll be far in the diminishing return territory (the point were user don't need any more reason to subscribe). 1 AAA release/quarter, like MS previously mentioned as their goal, fine, 1 AAA/2 month yeah maybe I'll be missing on many of those, 1 AAA / month clearly Gamepass does not need this. Of course, some lesser acquisition might still occur but if MS wants to stay efficient uncontrolled growth is not the way to go.
But if I'm wrong, well Microsoft may try I guess, but this deal cannot be blocked because MS may do another in the future, that's not a valid argument. As bad as the FTC arguments are, even them ain't arguing as such.
"there may be hope yet that the culture of ActiBlizz may actually turn around"
It's good that we're pointing out problems that need solving, but I believe many people have jumped to the wrong solution. Will this acquisition help the workers of a specific company? It well may do! But corporate consolidation is far the only solution out there to improve labour conditions nor it should be. There are better things that can be to ensure game developers are treated fairly in Activision and across the globe.
Sure but still acquisition by a renowned company in the field of great working conditions is sure a way to achieve this goal and a fast way a that. There's alternatives sure, but it does not remove the merits of this deal it that regard.
Ode to a masterpiece
2023 so much great game to play, somehow I know I must walk that alley, but don't you feel in disarray, I'll always come back to you Stardew Valley.