Technology

EU Clears Microsoft's $7.5 Billion Acquisition of Video Game Publisher Bethesda

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  • The European Commission cleared Microsoft's $7.5 billion acquisition of Bethesda parent company ZeniMax on Friday.
  • It's the biggest gaming acquisition in Microsoft's history, eclipsing the $2.5 billion the firm paid for Minecraft developer Mojang in 2014.
  • Microsoft plans to push its subscription offering, Xbox Game Pass, by bringing Bethesda's games to its extensive library of titles.

LONDON — The European Union approved Microsoft's $7.5 billion acquisition of ZeniMax, the parent company of iconic video game publisher Bethesda Softworks.

The European Commission — the executive body of the EU — made the decision to clear the Microsoft-ZeniMax deal on Friday, according to an update on its merger case register. The Commission says it found no competition concerns resulting from the takeover.

Microsoft announced it would buy ZeniMax in September. It's the biggest gaming acquisition in Microsoft's history, eclipsing the $2.5 billion the firm paid for Minecraft developer Mojang in 2014.

Bethesda is a household name in the video game industry, known for publishing a raft of successful game franchises including Fallout, The Elder Scrolls and Doom. Microsoft plans to push its subscription offering, Xbox Game Pass, by bringing Bethesda's games to its extensive library of titles.

Microsoft envisions the future of gaming as an ecosystem that encompasses its Xbox consoles as well as Netflix-style subscription plans and cloud gaming. The company rolled its game streaming service xCloud to Android users in September and plans to launch it on iOS as a web app later this year.

Cloud gaming lets users play a game that's streamed to their device from a company's remote infrastructure.

Microsoft and Sony launched their respective Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 consoles in November. They've both suffered with supply issues due to a global chip shortage that's affected everything from the auto industry to consumer electronics.

Gaming has been a key beneficiary from the coronavirus pandemic. Major publishers like Microsoft's Xbox Game Studios and Electronic Arts have looked to capitalize on that by using their huge cash hoards to snap up smaller game developers.

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