Microsoft's acquisition of ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda and its game studios, has been approved by the European Union, as reported by The Verge. The purchase will cost Microsoft $7.5 billion, which is about as much as the company paid for GitHub in 2018. Last month, the EU had revealed the deadline for the decision was March 5, last Friday. The deal was approved without conditions, as it was determined the deal didn't raise any serious concerns regarding its "compatibility with the common market".
Microsoft has been on a shopping spree for gaming companies in the last few years, and it's clear that its gaming ambitions are not small. At E3 2018, Microsoft announced five acquisitions of studios including Playground Games and Ninja Theory, and then later that year it added inXile and Obsidian to its portfolio. In 2019, Double Fine Productions joined the party, too.
ZeniMax is, by far, the most notable acquisition Microsoft has made in the gaming space, however. The many studios owned by the company are responsible for massive franchises such as DOOM, Wolfenstein, The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, and many more. All in all, Microsoft will now own 23 game studios, which should provide a strong foundation for its Xbox division.
One of the big questions that arose from the purchase is the future of games that were initially announced as PlayStation 5 exclusives - Deathloop and GhostWire: Tokyo. Microsoft has said that it will honor those exclusivity deals. As for future games, Microsoft has said that whether they will be on multiple platforms is to be decided on a case-by-case basis. Phil Spencer has stated that the intention of the acquisition wasn't to bar players on other platforms from playing those games, but also said that releasing on multiple platforms isn't a necessity in order to recoup the $7.5 billion cost.
One of the effects we can likely expect is that more Bethesda games will be added to Xbox Game Pass more quickly. Doom Eternal made its way to the subscription service very quickly after the acquisition was announced, and that's only bound to ramp up once the deal is finalized.