Microsoft’s Acquisition of Bethesda Approved by EU as Largest Gaming Acquisition in Company History Finalizes

By Thomas Price Monday, March 8, 2021

After deliberation from the European Commission, the European Union’s (EU) executive body, the proposed business deal between ZeniMax Media and tech company Microsoft has been approved. ZeniMax Media is most notable for being the parent company of popular video game publisher Bethesda.

The approval marks a major moment for Microsoft as the company looks to further bolster the gaming library for their popular subscription-based gaming service, Xbox Game Pass. The acquisition will have long-term effects on the cloud gaming business as a whole as well as specifically Microsoft’s impact in the gaming world as the company continues to expand its presence.

Microsoft sign at entrance of building.

Details of the Business Acquisition

Tech giant Microsoft had announced in late September 2020 that the company had reached a deal to acquire ZeniMax Media for $7.5 billion, marking the largest gaming acquisition in company history.

The deal itself offers major benefits to Microsoft as ZeniMax is the parent company of video game publisher Bethesda, the creator of such franchises as “Doom,” “Fallout,” “Wolfenstein,” and many others. Especially considering the ongoing delay to Microsoft’s most anticipated Xbox exclusive game, “Halo Infinite,” owning these massive titles serves as a large boost to the company as it tries to win over more consumers from the competition.

Especially considering the massive popularity of gaming since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Microsoft could take a big leg up on its console competition with the addition of these new titles. The largest benefit will come from adding these titles to the Xbox Game Pass subscription service.

The subscription-based business model is proving to be the future for many of the largest companies in the industry as Microsoft looks to use Xbox Game Pass and the lack of a physical disc drive on certain models of their newest Xbox consoles as catalysts for further expansion on the service.

Future Outlooks for ZeniMax and Microsoft

Despite the recent deal approval from the EU, Microsoft plans to continue business as usual for ZeniMax, allowing them to operate independently from the tech giant. More details will be made clear following the upcoming event rumored from Microsoft in late March that will discuss Xbox and other gaming announcements.

In a statement released at the initial announcement of the business acquisition, CEO of Microsoft Satya Nadella said, “Gaming is the most expansive category in the entertainment industry, as people everywhere turn to gaming to connect, socialize and play with their friends. Quality differentiated content is the engine behind the growth and value of Xbox Game Pass—from Minecraft to Flight Simulator. As a proven game developer and publisher, Bethesda has seen success across every category of games, and together, we will further our ambition to empower the more than three billion gamers worldwide.”

About the Author


Headshot of Thomas Price

Tom Price is a writer focusing on entertainment and sports features. He has a degree from NYU in English with a minor in Creative Writing. He has been previously published for Washington Square News, Dignitas, CBR, and Numbers on the Boards.

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