Microsoft Gains Regulatory Approval For ZeniMax Acquisition And What It Could Mean For Future Xbox Games
Late last year, Microsoft announced a deal to buy ZeniMax Media and subsidiary Bethesda Studios with IPs such as Fallout, DOOM, and The Elder Scrolls franchises. The $7.5 billion deal would also include id Software, Arkane, MachineGames, and others. Now, Microsoft is one step closer to sealing the deal as both the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and European Commission have given the green light.
On March 4th, the SEC posted both a notice of effectiveness and a prospectus, meaning that the SEC has reviewed the deal in full and found no issues. Today, the European Commission also agreed with the SEC, explaining that "the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, given the combined entity's limited market position upstream and the presence of strong downstream competitors in the distribution of video games."
By no means is this a guarantee that Microsoft will complete the acquisition; however, it is certainly a step in the right direction. The Redmond, Washington-based company can plunge forward and hopefully complete ZeniMax's purchase before the year is out, as was rumored at the deal's announcement. If, and when, this deal is completed, it would bring Microsoft's total in-house game studios up to a 28, but what does this mean for games set to be released on the competition's consoles?
At present, it is believed that any titles announced for the PlayStation 5 will still be honored, with further games released on a case-by-case basis. Financially, it would not make a whole lot of sense if Microsoft were to limit the entire category of incredibly popular ZeniMax titles to the Xbox. But it's quite possible that new IP -- and even some current IP -- could be limited to the Xbox and PC platforms to give Microsoft an "exclusive" edge over the PlayStation 5. Console exclusives are a big deal and we doubt that they will be going away anytime soon. In any case, it will be interesting to see where Microsoft takes Bethesda and other game studios soon, so keep an eye on HotHardware for updates.