Microsoft has announced that they have entered into an agreement to acquire ZeniMax Media, the parent company of game developers Bethesda Softworks who’ve made games like The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, DOOM, and more.
With the console wars once again reignited ahead of both Microsoft and Sony’s next-gen offerings in the coming months, Team Xbox have announced a major move that will see them become owners of one of the most recognizable game developers in the world, welcoming them in a press release on Monday, September 21.
That means Microsoft and Xbox are now in control of some of gaming’s most popular and legendary franchises, such as The Elder Scrolls and Fallout, and have dealt a big blow to Sony and PlayStation, especially should they choose to make those games exclusive to their platform.
Unsurprisingly, the deal won’t come cheap for Xbox, with Bethesda confirming in their press release that Microsoft are paying $7.5 billion cash to complete the acquisition of ZeniMax, with the deal including all of the company’s publishing offices and development studios across the globe, and all of their best-selling franchises including The Elder Scrolls, Quake, Wolfenstein, and more.
“Bethesda’s games have always had a special place on Xbox, and in the hearts of millions of gamers around the world,” writes Xbox head Phil Spencer. “Our teams have a close and storied history working together, just as they took the bold first steps to bring The Elder Scrolls franchise to the original Xbox, we will be adding Bethesda’s iconic franchises to Xbox Game Pass for console and PC.”
“One of the things that has me most excited is seeing the roadmap with Bethesda’s future games, some announced and many unannounced, to Xbox console and PC including Starfield. Over the last few weeks, we’ve been excited to share more details on important elements of a plan we’ve been building towards for years. A plan that is the fulfillment of a promise, to you the Xbox player, to deliver the most performant, immersive, and compatible next-generation gaming experiences, and the freedom to play blockbuster games with your friends anytime, anywhere.”
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Whether or not Bethesda releases will become exclusive to Xbox Series X, S, and PCs following this deal remains to be seen, but it’s likely that players on the Microsoft-owned platform will receive DLC and possibly new titles ahead of their Sony brethren, although has yet to be confirmed by either Microsoft of the developers themselves.
The deal is by far one of the biggest Microsoft have ever undertaken, paying three times as much as they did for Minecraft creators Mojang. Bethesda already has a deal with Sony to release Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo on PlayStation 5 first.