In what will probably be the biggest gaming news this year, Microsoft has announced that they’ve entered an agreement to acquire ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks.

“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.”

For those not familiar with Bethesda or ZeniMax, you may know them for their franchises such as The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Wolfenstein, DOOM, Dishonored, Prey, Quake and the upcoming Starfield.

“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.”

The acquisition will add another 2,300 people worldwide to Xbox Game Studios across all of Bethesda’s studios, Bethesda Softworks, Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, ZeniMax Online Studios, Arkane, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog, and Roundhouse Studios.

One thing to note is that two Bethesda titles are currently timed PS5 exclusives, those being Tango Gameworks’ Ghostwire: Tokyo and Arkane’s Deathloop. It’s unclear if those games will be coming to Xbox at a later date

In a statement, Todd Howard of Bethesda Game Studios said,

Like our original partnership, this one is about more than one system or one screen. 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.
We can’t think of a better group of people to do that with than those at Xbox. We have friendships that go back to those original days. From Phil to his senior leaders to developer support, they don’t just talk about putting players first, they passionately live it.

According to a report by Bloomberg, the deal is said to be worth around $7.5 billion USD and is expected to be completed by the second half of 2021.

Source: Xbox, Bethesda, (2)

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