Microsoft has agreed a $7.5 billion deal to acquire ZeniMax Media, developer of gaming titles such as The Elder Scrolls and Fallout, and its publisher Bethesda Softworks. The move is part of Microsoft’s strategy to strengthen Xbox with new games, technology, talent and commercial success.
“Gaming is the most expansive category in the entertainment industry, as people everywhere turn to gaming to connect, socialise and play with their friends,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of 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.”
With the addition of Bethesda, Microsoft will expand from 15 to 23 creative studio teams and will add Bethesda’s iconic franchises to Xbox Game Pass – Microsoft’s cloud-gaming service which has over 15 million subscribers.
“This is an awesome time to be an Xbox fan,” said Phil Spencer, executive vice president of 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 planned acquisition – which is expected to be completed in the second half of FY2021 –includes Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, ZeniMax Online Studios, Arkane, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog and Roundhouse Studios.
“This is a thrilling day for this company, our employees, and our fans,” said Robert Altman, chairman and CEO of ZeniMax Media. “We have enjoyed a close partnership with Microsoft for decades, and this deal is a natural progression of those years working together,” said Altman. “The big winners today are our fans. We are continuing to develop our slate of AAA games, but now with Microsoft’s scale and entire Game Stack, our games can only get better.”