The EU has approved Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda

EU Bethesda takeover approved feature

Microsoft has managed to overcome a major hurdle in its acquisition of Bethesda. Despite originally announcing the move last year it had yet to go through. This is because the EU was investigating if Microsoft acquiring Bethesda could potentially be anti-competitive.

However, in an announcement made last night the EU has now approved the transaction. Specifically, Microsoft have acquired the rights to ZeniMax Media, Bethesda’s parent company. This move is thought to be in the $7.5 billion range. This is second largest acquisition of a company in video game history. Falling just behind Tencent’s purchase of Supercell in 2016.

EU gives the thumbs up for Bethesda purchase

EU Bethesda Fallout 76 boss fight

The decision was made by the European Commission. The Commission is a sub-sector of the European Union responsible for passing legislation. There were some concerns over what the EU would think of this takeover, but it was approved in the end.

According to the EU, Microsoft acquiring Bethesda is not a problematic move. In a statement, it confirmed that “the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns.” This is because neither party have a huge share in the games industry and competitors are aplenty.

It may seem odd to hear that Microsoft has a relatively small share of the industry, but it isn’t wrong. When compared to its near 80% monopoly of PC operating systems, its control of the games industry is minimal. The Commission usually only blocks transactions in cases were said acquisition would effectively end competition. An example of this would be Apple trying to purchase Android.

Regardless, this move is sure to spark a huge shift in the industry. It is unprecedented for a large games publisher to be purchased by another studio. And with the EU approving the Bethesda takeover, Microsoft now has one of the industry’s premier RPG makers on its side. If this results in hit franchises like The Elder Scrolls becoming exclusive is hard to say. But we will likely find out Microsoft’s intentions soon enough.

Xbox acquires Bethesda and exclusive rights to eight major franchises

Bethesda

Yes, you did read that right. In an industry defining move earlier today Microsoft announced it is acquiring ZeniMax Media and Bethesda Game Studios. This move sees eight major Bethesda game franchises fall under the ownership of Microsoft. Furthermore, they could all become Xbox exclusives depending on how the American technology giant approaches development.

The eight notable franchises Xbox has gained ownership of are DOOM, Dishonored, Fallout, PREY, The Elder Scrolls, The Evil Within, Starfield, and Wolfenstein. Many of these series have active games in development, with the biggest by far being The Elder Scrolls VI. It was teased a couple of years back, but we’ve seen no new information since then. It’ll be interesting to see if it ends up being an Xbox exclusive or not.

The acquisition of Bethesda

Elder Scrolls bethesdaMicrosoft’s acquisition of the popular American games publisher alongside ZeniMax is rumored to have cost $7.5 billion. To put that colossal number into context, that’s three times what it paid to acquire Minecraft developer Mojang.

In a post written by Bethesda PR vice president Pete Hines, the developer states this opportunity allows it to make “even better games going forward.” Also, Hines believes Microsoft can provide “access to resources that will make us a better publisher and developer.”

Given the rough patch Bethesda is going through, a change in direction was probably needed. The disaster that was and is Fallout 76 has been difficult to overcome for the developer, but this switch up of approach could help. Hopefully, with the backing and funding of Xbox Bethesda can get back to developing industry defining RPGs.

What do you think about this bold move by Microsoft? Are they justified in doing this or is the acquisition of Bethesda a bad move for industry competition? Let us know in the comments what you think and if this will pay off long-term.