Microsoft’s acquisition of ZeniMax has been approved by US and EU authorities

Microsoft's acquisition of ZeniMax has been approved by US and EU authorities

Microsoft’s acquisition of ZeniMax has been approved by US and EU authorities

In September 2020, Microsoft announced that they planned to acquire ZeniMax Media, the corporation behind Bethesda.  With this move, Microsoft would gobble up top-tier game studios like Bethesda Softworks, Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, ZeniMax Online Studios, Arkane, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog, and Roundhouse Studios, expanding Xbox Games Studios significantly. 

Microsoft’s $7.5 billion deal would need to pass regulatory scrutiny, but now both the EU Commission and America’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have approved the deal. With these approvals, Microsoft can now complete the acquisition without any major delays.

This acquisition brings nine developers under the Xbox Games Studios banner alongside franchises such as  The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Wolfenstein, DOOM, Dishonored, Prey, Quake, Starfield and more. In short, this acquisition will have a huge impact on the console gaming landscape, giving Microsoft a vast library of IP to play with. 

At this time, it is unknown how this deal will impact Bethesda’s existing “console exclusivity” agreements with Sony, which will see Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo as PlayStation 5 console exclusives at launch. These exclusivity deals will likely continue as planned, though future Bethesda titles could release as Xbox exclusives. 

Future Bethesda titles are now expected to be exclusive to Xbox and PC, removing a vast library of future games from Sony’s PlayStation consoles. That said, it is probable that all currently announced PlayStation 5 games from the publisher will still come to the system, as Microsoft has honoured the platform commitments of all of their recently acquired studios so far.

With this acquisition, PlayStation fans can no longer state that “Xbox Has no Games”. Now, Xbox fans can ask PlayStation users if they will be getting the next Elder Scrolls, Fallout, or DOOM release. To say that this acquisition is a game-changer for Microsoft is an understatement. 

Microsoft's acquisition of ZeniMax has been approved by US and EU authorities  

Right now, Xbox Game Studios is made up of fifteen developers, and adding Bethesda’s nine studios into the mix increases that number by 60%. This will allow Microsoft to release more Xbox exclusive titles and dramatically increase the value proposition of services like Xbox Game Pass. 

When this acquisition finished, Microsoft will no longer be behind Sony when it comes to first-party IP, though it will be a while before we see this deal impacting the Xbox brand as a whole. 

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