Microsoft has acquired ZeniMax Media, parent company of Bethesda Softworks, id Software and more, for a huge $7.5 billion.
After being initially reported by Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier, Microsoft confirmed the acquisition of ZeniMax Media in a post on their website.
“Today is a special day, we we welcome some of the most accomplished studios in the games industry to Xbox,” the post reads. “We are thrilled to announce Microsoft has entered into an agreement to acquire ZeniMax Media, parent company of Bethesda Softworks.”
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Microsoft is paying $7.5 billion for Zenimax/Bethesda— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) September 21, 2020
This means Microsoft now has ownership over some huge studios, including Bethesda Softworks, Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, ZeniMax Online Studios, Arkane, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog and Roundhouse Studios.
In other words, Microsoft also now has ownership over huge franchises like The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Wolfenstein, DOOM, Dishonored, Prey, Quake and more.
While it doesn’t state all future titles from these studios will be Xbox exclusive in the future, the post, written by Xbox head Phil Spencer, states they’re looking forward to the company’s upcoming games 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, including Starfield, the highly anticipated, new space epic currently in development by Bethesda Game Studios,” the post reads.
Microsoft has confirmed however they will be adding Bethesda’s “iconic franchises” to Xbox Game Pass for console and PC.
While it does raise a big question mark over the future of certain franchises on platforms outside Xbox and PC, Microsoft previously bought Minecraft developer Mojang which is still available on every platform - so it's possible they'll still remain on PlayStation and Nintendo platforms.
Microsoft's messaging with the Xbox Series X has also largely supported removing barriers between platforms too - so gatekeeping some of gaming's biggest franchises feels like a strike against this ethos.
Either way, it's no accident this announcement comes a day before Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S preorders go live - but will it be enough to sway the hype drive away from Sony's PS5?