Microsoft purchased ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks, for $7.5 billion in cash, the company announced Monday. The huge purchase of the entertainment company puts Bethesda and more game developers under the umbrella of Xbox and Microsoft.
Bethesda is the maker of a plethora of amazing game series such as Fallout and The Elder Scrolls. Other studios under the wing of ZeniMax include id Software, Roundhouse Studios, Arkane, MachineGames, Alpha Dog, Tango Gameworks and ZeniMax Online Studios. Other games under the ZeniMax umbrella include Doom, Wolfenstein, Dishonored and Quake and many others that are now a part of Xbox. These studios are joining the already impressive Xbox Game development studios.
“Bethesda’s games have always had a special place on Xbox and in the hearts of millions of gamers around the world,” Head of Xbox Phil Spencer said in a statement. “Our teams have a close and storied history working together, from the amazing first DOOM, and its id Tech engine, innovating games on PCs to Bethesda bringing their first console game to the original Xbox, the groundbreaking The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind.“
Team Xbox has now expanded even more, with there now being 24 in-house game developers working under Microsoft. Bethesda will also be run as its own part of the company, with leadership all moving over and keeping the chain of command.
“Like us, Bethesda are passionate believers in building a diverse array of creative experiences, in exploring new game franchises, and in telling stories in bold ways. Today is a landmark step in our journey together and I’m incredibly energized by what this step means for Xbox.”
To put this into perspective, Microsoft acquired Mojang for $2.5 billion and Disney acquired Lucasfilm/Star Wars for $4 billion. So yes, this is a big deal.
This move comes a few weeks before the anticipated release of the £450 Xbox Series X and the smaller, £250 Xbox Series S. Both consoles are releasing on November 10th.
Only time will tell as to what this means for future ZeniMax releases. They could remain multi-platform; it would make sense to capitalize on software sales on both the Xbox Series X/S and the Playstation 5, rather than limiting themselves to one system. But if Microsoft want to give gamers a big reason to choose Xbox this upcoming gen, they definitely did that. Regardless of if future ZeniMax games release on Playstation 5, they will most definitely now release on Xbox Game Pass on day 1, which makes the already impressive service even more appealing.