Microsoft Buys ZeniMax Media (Including Bethesda) For $7.5 Billion

This morning kicked off with a major shake-up in the gaming industry as Microsoft has acquired the developers behind DOOM, Fallout, Elder Scrolls, and more…

Talk about a big announcement! Just a day ahead of pre-orders opening up for Microsoft’s next-generation consoles (the Xbox Series X/S), the company has announced the purchase of ZeniMax Media and its publisher Bethesda. I mean, this is kinda of mind-blowing and one of the larger acquisitions Microsoft has made. This brings iconic franchises like DOOM, The Elder Scrolls, Dishonored, and Fallout under their banner.

Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) on Monday announced plans to acquire ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks, one of the largest, privately held game developers and publishers in the world. Creators of critically acclaimed and best-selling gaming franchises including The Elder Scrolls and Fallout among many others, Bethesda brings an impressive portfolio of games, technology, talent, as well as a track record of blockbuster commercial success, to Xbox. Under the terms of the agreement, Microsoft will acquire ZeniMax Media for $7.5 billion in cash.

With unique investments in content, community, and the cloud, Microsoft’s gaming strategy differs from others by empowering people to play the games they want, with the people they want, anywhere they want. Games are the primary growth engine in gaming, and games are fueling new cloud-gaming services like Xbox Game Pass, which has reached a new milestone of over 15 million subscribers. With the addition of Bethesda, Microsoft will grow from 15 to 23 creative studio teams and will be adding Bethesda’s iconic franchises to Xbox Game Pass. This includes Microsoft’s intent to bring Bethesda’s future games into Xbox Game Pass the same day they launch on Xbox or PC, like Starfield, the highly anticipated, new space epic currently in development by Bethesda Game Studios.

Pete Hines and Todd Howard from Bethesda have made individual statements on the news as well. Of course, the main thing on everyone’s minds now are what will the future of those franchises be? Will they be entirely exclusive to Xbox, or be available on multiple platforms much like how they’ve done with Minecraft?

Of course, it’s also interesting that Deathloop (from Arkane/Bethesda) is slated to be a PlayStation 5 timed exclusive. Which means Xbox now has a PS5 exclusive! Just kinda crazy to think about. For what it’s worth, I think they’ll go with the hybrid approach. I’m sure there will be specific exclusives from those franchises, but that bigger entries will find their way to other consoles as well. I guess we’ll have to wait and see!

What do you think of this big announcement? Are you pre-ordering the Xbox Series X tomorrow?