Microsoft buys ZeniMax, parent company of Bethesda for $7.5 billion

Microsoft dropped a bombshell on the gaming industry to start the week by acquiring ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda, id Software, Arkane Studios, MachineGames, and more.

The news broke on Twitter this afternoon by Bloomberg journalist Jason Schreier.

Shortly after, Microsoft confirmed the news themselves. Xbox boss Phil Spencer welcomed the ZeniMax family to Microsoft‘s Xbox Game Studios: “As one of the largest, most critically acclaimed, privately held game developers and publishers in the world, Bethesda is an incredibly talented group of 2300 people worldwide who make up some of the most accomplished creative studios in our industry,” he went on to credit them for their biggest successes, “These the teams responsible for franchises like The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Wolfenstein, Doom, Dishonored, Prey, Quake, Starfield and many more.”

Spencer did not confirm whether any or all of these properties will be Xbox exclusive (note Minecraft is also owned by Microsoft’s Xbox Studios and is available on all platforms) but said he was looking forward to the company’s upcoming games launching on PC and Xbox consoles.

“One of the things that has me most excited is seeing the roadmap with Bethesda’s future games, some announced and many unannounced, to Xbox console and PC,” he said, “including Starfield, the highly anticipated, new space epic currently in development by Bethesda Game Studios.”

We already know Deathloop from Arkane Studios is coning go PS5, so don’t expect any major changes immediately.

Bethesda’s Todd Howard issued a statement today on the news: “We share a deep belief in the fundamental power of games, in their ability to connect, empower, and bring joy. And a belief we should bring that to everyone – regardless of who you are, where you live, or what you play on. Regardless of the screen size, the controller, or your ability to even use one.”

Howard went on to say, “We can’t think of a better group of people to do that with than those at Xbox. We have friendships that go back to those original days. From Phil to his senior leaders to developer support, they don’t just talk about putting players first, they passionately live it.”

Microsoft also confirmed that all new Bethesda and associated studios releases will join Game Pass for Xbox and PC. 

No word yet on whether they will come to PlayStation 5 individually or not, Microsoft is putting a major focus on selling Game Pass subs this generation so, whether they ultimately decide to continue publishing these IPs multiplatform releases, like Minecraft, their big sales pitch for consumers can be summed up quite simple:

Get all of these games as part of your Xbox Game Pass subscription or pay £60-70 for them each on the PS5.

Will this pay off for Microsoft, I hope so because $7.5 billion is nothing to sniff at, even for a company that could buy Europe and turn it into a Halo theme park.

UPDATE: Jason Schreier confirms that Xbox will honour the existing PS5 exclusivity deals for Bethesda titles Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo, but is suitably vague about the possibility of multi-platform releases for future titles.

When we know more, you’ll know more.

andrewshaw andrewshaw

Updated: Sep 21, 2020


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Microsoft buys ZeniMax, parent company of Bethesda for $7.5 billion | The Digital Fix