European Commission approves Microsoft’s $ 7.5 billion deal to acquire ZeniMax Media, parent company of Doem and Dropout Bethesda Softworks studio. Microsoft Agreement was EU approved without conditions, as it “does not raise serious doubts as to its compatibility with the common market.” The acquisition required EU approval before Microsoft could finalize the Bethesda deal and bring future games to its Xbox Game Pass subscription.
Once the deal is signed, Microsoft’s list of first-party studios will rise to 23 after the addition of Bethesda sub-studios such as Disgrace developer Arkane, Wolfenstein studio MachineGames, Doem maker id software, and The evil inside studio Tango Gameworks. Microsoft apparently intends to keep Bethesda running separately, with its existing leadership. This approach seems to have worked for Mojang, LinkedIn, and GitHub, all of which continued separately after Microsoft acquired it.
Microsoft originally announced plans to acquire Bethesda in September, promising to meet PS5 exclusivity obligations Deathloop and GhostWire: Tokyo. Games like The Elder Scrolls: Online will also ‘continue to be supported exactly as it was.’
The remarks of Microsoft’s game chief Phil Spencer in September say how Microsoft is handling future Bethesda titles will be a “case-by-case” basis. It’s still unclear how Microsoft plans to handle the upcoming space email Starfield.
Microsoft may not even need to launch future Bethesda games exclusively on Xbox. Just having it on the first day on Xbox Game Pass can in itself be a big draw for players to sign up for. Xbox Game Chief Phil Spencer also has questioning viability of exclusive game offerings recently, and Microsoft’s plans for Xbox are very much focused on Xbox Game Pass and xCloud games reaching millions of people.
In fact, Microsoft plans to announce its plans for Xbox later this month. There are rumors that a “future of gaming” event will take place on March 23, and this could be an ideal opportunity for Microsoft to discuss the future of Bethesda, xCloud on iOS, and its plans for Xbox Game Pass.