Microsoft to Buy ZeniMax Media, Add Bethesda to Xbox Game Studios

Microsoft is set to bring the makers of The Elder Scrolls, Doom, Fallout, and Wolfenstein into the Xbox Game Studios fold.

Microsoft is buying ZeniMax Media and adding the many developers under its umbrella, including Bethesda, to its list of Xbox studios. Microsoft announced the acquisition in a press release and a statement on the Xbox Wire blog. The move is partly intended to coincide with Microsoft's focus on cloud gaming, according to Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox.

The acquisition doesn't come cheap, either. While details are yet to be finalized, Microsoft's announcement said the deal costs $7.5 billion. For reference, that's $5 billion more than Microsoft paid for Mojang, the developer behind Minecraftand $3.5 billion more than Disney acquired Star Wars for.

Spencer said: 

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.

What that means for the short term is that Bethesda's "iconic franchises," like Wolfenstein and The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, will be heading to Game Pass for Xbox and PC. Future releases from the studios under ZeniMax, including id Software (Doom), Arkane (Dishonored), and more, will land on Game Pass when they launch.

Bloomberg's Jason Schreier said on Twitter that Spencer told fellow Bloomberg reporter Dina Bass current agreements with Sony would be kept, but "future Bethesda games will be on Xbox, PC, and 'other consoles on a case by case basis.'"

According to Game Informer, the deal won't be finalized until the second half of the 2021 fiscal year. For Microsoft, that's between January 2021 and June 30, 2021. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Microsoft and Xbox news as it develops.

[Source: Xbox Wire, Game Informer]


Josh Broadwell started gaming in the early '90s. But it wasn't until 2017 he started writing about them, after finishing two history degrees and deciding a career in academia just wasn't the best way forward. You'll usually find him playing RPGs, strategy games, or platformers, but he's up for almost anything that seems interesting.

Published Sep. 21st 2020

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