While Microsoft have been on a spending spree in recent years, snapping up studios of all shapes and sizes, it's still a little surprising that they're buying ZeniMax. That's Bethesda, Id Software, Arkane, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks, and the rest of the ZeniMax family joing Microsoft. And join they seemingly will, as financial authorities in both the US and Europe have recently approved the deal. $7.5 billion! The big bucks.
Microsoft announce their intent to buy ZeniMax in September 2020. Last week, both the USA's SEC and the European Commission gave their stamps of approval to the deal.
"The Commission concluded 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," The Verge report the European Commission said. And cheery RPS fanzine PC Gamer note that the Securities And Exchange Commission gave a thumbs-up in the USA last week. That's two big steps towards the acquisition finishing.
Some confused reporting (including our own) said earlier this year that ZeniMax would be merging into Microsoft under a company named Vault, a cheeky wink to Fallout, but that was only a temporary entity to be eliminated once the deed was done.
Beyond the usual concerns about the consolidation of the games industry, we don't know what to expect from the future of ZeniMax. Folks with PlayStations might have more reason to be concerned than PC peeps, though ZeniMax have committed to continuing PlayStation releases already announced, and may just keep on releasing them same as ever.
"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," Xbox CFO Tim Stuart said during a virtual conference in November. "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."
He went on to say that yeah, games being on Game Pass is definitely a way of being "better". When it comes to PC, hey, Windows is one of their platforms, and so is Xbox Game Pass For PC. And yep, they've previously said we should expected future Bethgames on PC and Game Pass at launch, including the mysterious Starfield.