Microsoft Buys ZeniMax Media and Bethesda

Credit: Xbox

The big M’s assembling allies for the new console generation.

With the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 dated and priced (nearly identically, at that), it’s looking like this next generation is going to be a battle of console exclusives, timed or otherwise. With their presentation last week, Sony made it pretty clear they’ve got plenty of allies in the PS5’s corner, but as of a new agreement, Microsoft will have quite the heavy hitter in its corner.

Microsoft announced today that it has formally penned an agreement with ZeniMax Media to acquire it to the tune of $7.5 billion, cash up front. ZeniMax has several prolific subsidiaries, but none quite as well-known as Bethesda Softworks, publishers of the Elder Scrolls and Fallout series, among others. As nice as it is to have the other studios under their belt, Bethesda is definitely the crown jewel of this acquisition for Microsoft. With Bethesda’s acquisition also comes its various sub-studios, including Dishonored‘s Arkane Studios, DOOM‘s id Software, and Wolfenstein‘s MachineGames.

“Bethesda’s games have always had a special place on Xbox and in the hearts of millions of gamers around the world,” Xbox head Phil Spencer wrote in a public statement. “Our teams have a close and storied history working together, from the amazing first DOOM, and its id Tech engine, innovating games on PCs to Bethesda bringing their first console game to the original Xbox, the groundbreaking The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. Over the years I’ve had many deep conversations with the creative leaders at Bethesda on the future of gaming and we’ve long shared similar visions for the opportunities for creators and their games to reach more players in more ways.”

Credit: Bethesda

Going forward, all Bethesda-published games will be added simultaneously to the Xbox Games Pass catalog with their Xbox and/or PC release. No word has been given from Microsoft, ZeniMax, or Bethesda on the subject of console exclusivity, especially considering Arkane’s upcoming Deathloop was recently announced to be a timed exclusive for the PS5. Bethesda has released a statement of their own to assure players that things won’t be changing too drastically.

“We’re still working on the same games we were yesterday, made by the same studios we’ve worked with for years, and those games will be published by us,” wrote Bethesda’s marketing head Pete Hines.

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