The $7.5 billion that Microsoft is acquiring ZeniMax Media and Bethesda for is a large sum, and it makes this deal one of the largest in the history of the gaming industry. However, the analytical firm DFC believes that this price is actually “surprisingly low”.
Bethesda has many classic IP addresses with significant long-term potential. However, the company has recently experienced problems with poorly received releases, such as Fallout 76.
This deal shows once again that while Xbox can’t compete with PlayStation in device sales in the short term, Microsoft is better equipped to focus on the long-term vision. Thanks to Bethesda, the Game Pass library and the xCloud streaming service will be significantly expanded on both Xbox and PC.
According to DFC analysts, the Fallout and the Elder Scrolls franchises alone are worth the amount of money that Microsoft gives away.
Key Bethesda franchises include Fallout and The Elder Scrolls. These games perform well on both consoles and PCs, including online elements. Only these two deductibles can be worth as the sum of this entire deal.
However, David Hopp of the law firm Gamma Law explained that antitrust regulators should not have questions about the transaction, since in this case, we are talking about a vertical merger, and not a horizontal one, which implies a deal between direct competitors.
Vertical mergers have historically been less of a problem for antitrust regulators. In such cases, there may still be concerns about consumer choice and monopoly prices, but all this is not so important, since competitors remain in the market.
According to Hopp, exclusives only in theory can affect the preservation of competition — for example, if Microsoft buys all the best studios, and people stop taking the PS5. However, in practice, this situation is unlikely.
Hopp also found it an interesting coincidence that the Microsoft-ZeniMax deal came a month after a New York Federal judge struck down a rule that a movie Studio can’t own a movie theater chain. He sees this as a similar situation in which Microsoft represents a movie Studio and ZeniMax represents a movie theater chain.