Microsoft is expanding its gaming development arm ahead of the launch of the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. The company announced that it now plans today to acquire ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks. Under the terms of the agreement, Microsoft will acquire ZeniMax Media for $7.5B in cash.
The deal is one of the largest acquisitions in the gaming industry over the last decade. ZeniMax Media holds the rights to several major franchises, including “The Elder Scrolls,” “Fallout,” “Doom,” “Prey,” “Wolfenstein,” and “Dishonored.”
The announcement was made as Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S next-gen consoles get ready for pre-orders.
“Gaming is the most expansive category in the entertainment industry, as people everywhere turn to gaming to connect, socialize and play with their friends,” said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. “Quality differentiated content is the engine behind the growth and value of Xbox Game Pass—from Minecraft to Flight Simulator. As a proven game developer and publisher, Bethesda has seen success across every category of games, and together, we will further our ambition to empower the more than three billion gamers worldwide.”
“This is an awesome time to be an Xbox fan. In the last 10 days alone, we’ve released details on our two new consoles which go on pre-order tomorrow, launched cloud gaming in Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, and now we’re making another investment in the most critical part of our strategy: the games,” said Phil Spencer, executive vice president, Gaming at Microsoft. “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.”
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.
“This is a thrilling day for this company, our employees, and our fans. We have enjoyed a close partnership with Microsoft for decades, and this deal is a natural progression of those years working together,” said Altman. “The big winners today are our fans. We are continuing to develop our slate of AAA games, but now with Microsoft’s scale and entire Game Stack, our games can only get better.”
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