Today, Microsoft announced that it has agreed to acquire ZeniMax Media, the parent company behind gaming industry behemoth Bethesda Softworks and a raft of developers such as id Software, Arkane Studios, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks, and Alpha Dog.
“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.”
According to Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier, Microsoft will fork out a staggering $7.5 billion for the deal, which we’ll see a host of venerated IP fall under the Xbox umbrella moving forward.
These include The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Wolfenstein, The Evil Within, DOOM, Dishonored, Prey, and Quake, as well as highly-anticipated in-development titles like Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VI.
The acquisition also comes as Xbox readies to launch two new next-gen consoles this November and is actively expanding its xCloud streaming service and Xbox Game Pass subscription service.
Two Bethesda-published titles, Ghostwire: Tokyo and Deathloop, are slated for release on Sony’s PS5 and PC as timed exclusives. It’s unclear how the acquisition will affect this agreement, though Microsoft will likely honor it.
As far as statements about Microsoft’s ambitious, today’s news is a seismic as it gets, and likely signals a significant propping up of Xbox’s exclusive portfolio moving forward.
Despite a developer shopping spree in recent years, Microsoft has lacked big-name franchises to take on competitor Sony in any meaningful way, whose first-party offering has long been a thorn in Xbox’s side.
With Bethesda now under its wing, Xbox is better equipped than ever to rival PlayStation’s first-party output; few franchises have the same reputation and cult following as DOOM, Fallout, and The Elder Scrolls.