The European Commission has approved the Microsoft agreement for $7.5 billion for the acquisition of ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Doom, and the studio of Fallout, Bethesda Softworks.
Microsoft’s agreement was approved by the EU without conditions, as it “does not raise serious doubts as to its compatibility with the common market.” The purchase required EU approval before Microsoft that could finalize the Bethesda deal and bring new games to its Xbox Game Pass subscription.
Once concluded the agreement, the list of Microsoft’s proprietary studios will increase to 23, following the addition of secondary studio of Bethesda as developer Dishonored, Arkane, the studio of Wolfenstein, MachineGames, the manufacturer of Doom, id Software, and The Evil Within studio, Tango Gameworks.
The company seems to want to keep the acquired studios autonomous. This perspective appears to have worked for Mojang, LinkedIn, and GitHub, which continued to operate separately. Microsoft originally announced its plans to acquire Bethesda in September, promising to honor the firm’s commitments, such as the PlayStation 5 exclusivity of Deathloop and GhostWire: Tokyo.
Even games like The Elder Scrolls: Online will continue to be supported exactly as they were. How Microsoft handles future Bethesda titles will depend on a case-by-case basis, according to comments from Microsoft’s head of games, Phil Spencer, last September. It is not yet clear, however, how Microsoft plans to manage the imminent release of Starfield.
Microsoft may not just have to release future Bethesda games exclusively on Xbox. Just having them on the first day on Xbox Game Pass could be big enough to draw players to sign up for Xbox.