The European Commission has approved the sale of ZeniMax Media to technology giant Microsoft, clearing one of the few hurdles left for the Washington-based company to acquire ZeniMax and the companies under its umbrella, including Bethesda Softworks.
Both the SEC and the European Union's European Commission had to approve the acquisition before Microsoft could move forward with the buy out, which will see the Xbox maker's first-part studios baloon up to 23 and see it own prized IPs like The Elder Scrolls, DOOM and Fallout. With this approval and last week's SEC decision, the way is essentially paved to bring the ZeniMax companies under the Microsoft banner officially.
When Microsoft announced the acquisition of ZeniMax Media back in September of 2020 for a reported $7.5 billion, concerns among gamers all around centered on how Microsoft would handle the traditionally cross platform hits such as the Elder Scrolls and Fallout series. As of now, it seems Microsoft will be taking it on a game by game basis, with Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox, stating that the acquisition wasn't done in order to "take games away from another player base."
The acquisition does leave up in the air the potential platforms for games like Starfield, which is a new IP from the Maryland-based Bethesda Softworks, and whether or not the title will be published by Xbox one rival Sony's PlayStation platform. It wouldn't be the first time Microsoft publishes games on other platforms, with titles like Minecraft available on everything from iOS devices to the Nintendo Switch. Additonally, two of ZeniMax's titles in the works, Deathloop and GhostWire: Tokyo had existing PlayStation 5 exclusivity contracts, which Microsoft has stated they will continue to honor.