The European Commission has given Microsoft the go-ahead to complete its $7.5 billion acquisition of Zenix Media, the company that owns Bethesda Softworks, the studio responsible for people games Doom and Fallout. The proposed acquisition deal has been approved by the EU with no conditions since it “does not raise any serious doubts on its compatibility with the common market.”
With this green light, Microsoft will now have the leeway to bring future Bethesda games into its new Xbox Game Pass subscription service. The EU also noted that the proposed acquisition by the US tech giant will not raise any competition concerns.
The commission added that the transaction was examined under the normal merger review procedures set out by the EU. When the deal is finalized, it will be another huge scoop by Microsoft. It will also be the 23rd first-party gaming studio to join the fold, a clear sign that the company is keen to dominate the gaming industry in the coming years.
Microsoft has already finalized deals to acquire several top-of-the-line studios including Arkane, the developers of the game Dishonored. The US tech giant has also bought out MachineGames, a studio behind Wolfenstein, id Software, Tango Gameworks, developers of Evil Within, and a host of other gaming studios. Despite this, it looks like the US company is planning to keep Bethesda running separately as its own entity.
There is even talk that the existing leadership at the company will be retained. After all, the same approach was used after Microsoft acquired companies like LinkedIn, GitHub, and Mojang. All these companies continue to run separately despite being under the US company and have gone on to achieve exemplary success. Microsoft’s plan to acquire Bethesda was announced for the first time in September last year.
During the announcement, the US tech giant even promised to honor the exclusive agreements that Bethesda had with PS5 for games like Deathloop and GhostWire: Tokyo. And while the US company may as well keep its word on this, it is clear that how it handles future titles released by the studio will be very different. Many experts believe the company will use its control of Bethesda to push its Xbox Pass platform without any regard to other companies in the space.
The hope at the moment is to use future titles from Bethesda to pull in subscriptions to its gaming subscription service. And considering that Bethesda’s titles have a huge following, this might happen sooner rather than later. Recent reports indicate that Microsoft will be releasing its plans for the Xbox.
Microsoft is expected to tout Xbox as the "future of gaming" and it is more likely that its gaming streaming and subscription services Xbox Game Pass and xCloud game will all be included in this plan. The acquisition of Bethesda is a huge step and it seems the US tech giant is leaving nothing to chance as it looks to become the next dominant force in game streaming around the world.