Microsoft is massively expanding Xbox’s original games portfolio: The software giant announced plans to acquire ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks — one of the biggest privately held game developers and publishers in the world — for $7.5 billion in cash.
The deal will give Microsoft’s Xbox games division ownership of top-selling games including “Fallout,” “The Elder Scrolls,” “Doom,” “Quake,” “Wolfenstein,” “Prey” and “Dishonored.” Microsoft plans to add Bethesda’s franchises to its Xbox Game Pass cloud-based service, which has over 15 million subscribers.
With the addition of Bethesda, Microsoft will expand from 15 to 23 creative studio teams.
Phil Spencer, EVP of gaming at Microsoft, said in announcing the proposed deal, “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.”
News of the ZeniMax and Bethesda comes after Microsoft is set to release its next-generation Xbox consoles this fall: Set to ship Nov. 10 are the entry-level Xbox Series S (for $299) and the Xbox Series X ($499).
Microsoft’s planned acquisition of ZeniMax includes publishing offices and development studios worldwide with over 2,300 employees, including Bethesda Softworks, Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, ZeniMax Online Studios, Arkane, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog, and Roundhouse Studios.
Bethesda parent company ZeniMax Media was founded in 1999 by chairman and CEO Robert A. Altman. Bethesda’s structure and leadership will remain in place upon completion of the Microsoft takeover, expected to close in the second half of fiscal year 2021 (which ends June 30, 2021).
Pictured above (l. to r.): Bethesda’s “The Elder Scrolls,” “Fallout,” “Doom”
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