In a shocking turn of events, Xbox today announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks. This monumental move brings video game franchises like Doom, Fallout, and The Elder Scrolls into the greater Xbox fold. The exact amount of IP Xbox has just acquired is somewhat staggering to even think about, and should certainly help better position the company in terms of first-party titles in the future.
"As one of the largest, most critically acclaimed, privately held game developers and publishers in the world, Bethesda is an incredibly talented group of 2,300 people worldwide who make up some of the most accomplished creative studios in our industry across Bethesda Softworks, Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, ZeniMax Online Studios, Arkane, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog, and Roundhouse Studios," the official announcement from Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox, reads in part. "These are the teams responsible for franchises like The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Wolfenstein, DOOM, Dishonored, Prey, Quake, Starfield and many more."
Today is a special day… We are THRILLED to welcome the talented teams and beloved game franchises of @Bethesda to Team Xbox!September 21, 2020
According to the press release announcing the acquisition, Microsoft is acquiring ZeniMax Media for $7.5 billion in cash. The deal is subject to all the usual legal hurdles behind such acquisitions, but Microsoft expects to close on it in the second half of 2021's fiscal year. This marks just the latest high-profile acquisition from Xbox with previous companies like Double Fine Productions and Obsidian Entertainment being acquired in recent years. Notably, now that Xbox owns both Obsidian and Bethesda, this will likely once again stir up calls for a sequel to Fallout: New Vegas.
"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 of Microsoft, as part of the press release announcing the acquisition. "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."
The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S are both set to launch on November 10th for $499 and $299, respectively. Pre-orders are expected to go live tomorrow morning, September 22nd. You can check out all of our previous coverage of Xbox right here.
What do you think of this acquisition? What do you hope to see from Xbox now that ZeniMax Media/Bethesda Softworks is part of the fold? Let us know in the comments, or hit me up directly on Twitter at @rollinbishop to talk all things gaming!