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Microsoft Gets EU Approval to Acquire ZeniMax

(Photo: Bethesda)

Microsoft has managed to clear the biggest hurdle in its bid to acquire ZeniMax Media—approval by the European Union for the deal to go ahead.

As VGC reports, the EU antitrust regulator has now approved the acquisition, which Microsoft announced in September last year. In return for $7.5 billion, Microsoft will take control of ZeniMax Media, which includes Bethesda Games Studios, id Software, Arkane, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog, Roundhouse Studios, and ZeniMax Online Studios.

It was the biggest and most surprising deal of 2020, and gives Microsoft a huge boost in the gaming business. Once completed, Microsoft will own and control all The Elder Scrolls and Fallout games, as well as id Software’s entire library of IP (including Wolfenstein, Doom, and Quake). Add to that Dishonored, Prey, and The Evil Within. We don’t know when the deal will be concluded, but with the EU signing off, it could be finalized within the next couple of months.

When the deal was first announced, there was a question mark over ZeniMax games becoming Xbox exclusives. Microsoft was quick to state that wasn’t happening. In November, Xbox Chief Financial Officer Tim Stuart explained, “What we’ll do in the long run is we don’t have intentions of just pulling all of Bethesda content out of Sony or Nintendo or otherwise. But what we want is we want that content, in the long run, to be either first or better or best or pick your differentiated experience, on our platforms. We will want Bethesda content to show up the best as — on our platforms.”

With Microsoft pushing the Xbox Series X and Series S consoles hard, combined with Xbox Game Pass becoming such an important subscription for the company, we should expect everything ZeniMax studios produce going forward to appear first on those consoles and using Game Pass.

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