Microsoft is buying ZeniMax Media, parent company of Bethesda Softworks, giving it ownership of a host of major games and franchises, including The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, DOOM, Quake, Wolfenstein, and Dishonored.
The $7.5bn deal will boost Microsoft’s studio teams from 15 to 23 and see all of Bethesda’s future games included in its Xbox Game Pass from their launch day.
“Gaming is the most expansive category in the entertainment industry, as people everywhere turn to gaming to connect, socialize and play with their friends,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
“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.”
“This is an awesome time to be an Xbox fan. In the last 10 days alone, we’ve released details on our two new consoles which go on pre-order tomorrow, launched cloud gaming in Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, and now we’re making another investment in the most critical part of our strategy: the games,” said Phil Spencer, executive vice president, Gaming at Microsoft.
“Generations of gamers have been captivated by the renowned franchises in the Bethesda portfolio and will continue to be so for years to come as part of Xbox.”
ZeniMax Media was founded in 1999 by Chairman and CEO Robert A. Altman. Microsoft says Bethesda’s structure and leadership will remain in place following completion of the deal.
“This is a thrilling day for this company, our employees, and our fans. We have enjoyed a close partnership with Microsoft for decades, and this deal is a natural progression of those years working together,” said Altman.
“The big winners today are our fans. We are continuing to develop our slate of AAA games, but now with Microsoft’s scale and entire Game Stack, our games can only get better.”