Microsoft has purchased ZeniMax/Bethesda for $7.5bn

Xbox picks up mega-selling studios and franchises

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[Update: According to Bloomberg’s Dina Bass, future Bethesda titles will be released for PC and Xbox, with other consoles included on a “case-by-case basis.” The acquisition will not affect PlayStation’s previously secured timed-exclusivity deal on Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo.]

Microsoft will purchase ZeniMax Media/Bethesda in what is described as an “industry-shaking” acquisition. The news was initially posted on Twitter by Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier, before being made official by Microsoft mere minutes later.

Microsoft purchased ZeniMax Media for $7.5 billion USD, which gives Microsoft immediate ownership of Bethesda, partner studios such as id Software and MachineGames, and lucrative video game brands including Doom, Fallout, Prey, The Elder Scrolls, Wolfenstein, and Dishonored, among others.

“Over the years I’ve had many deep conversations with the creative leaders at Bethesda on the future of gaming and we’ve long shared similar visions for the opportunities for creators and their games to reach more players in more ways,” said Xbox Head Phil Spencer. “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. All of their great work will of course continue and grow and we look forward to empowering them with the resources and support of Microsoft to scale their creative visions to more players in new ways for you.”

This is, of course, an incredible coup right before the dawn of a new generation of gaming, announced just one day before pre-orders go live on Xbox’s new gaming hardware, Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S.

However, speaking on the acquisition, Bethesda Game Studios Director Todd Howard noted: “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.”

Is this a suggestion that Bethesda’s titles will not be Xbox exclusives going forward, despite the Microsoft ownership? It reads like one, though Howard could simply be referencing the PC and mobile markets. Either way, the truth will out as the two companies move together into the impending new generation. This is game-changing industry news, and may have serious ramifications for the playing field into next year and beyond.

You can read Microsoft’s official statement regarding the acquisition right here.

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Chris Moyse
Senior Editor - Chris has been playing video games since the 1980s and writing about them since the 1880s. Graduated from Galaxy High with honors. Twitter: @ChrisxMoyse
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