Microsoft Has Purchased Bethesda Softworks and Zenimax Media for $7.5 Billion

Today's industry-shaking purchase of Bethesda and Zenimax by Microsoft brings numerous IPs and developers under the tech giant's wings

In an industry-shaking acquisition, Microsoft has finalized its purchase of developer Bethesda Softworks and parent company Zenimax Media for a mind-boggling $7.5 billion.

This acquisition brings numerous award-winning franchises under Microsoft’s wing. Bethesda is the development studio behind two highly successful western RPG franchises, Fallout and The Elder Scrolls. The purchase, along with Zenimax, also includes numerous other hit game producing studios. Dishonored‘s Arkane Studios, DOOM‘s ID Software and Wolfenstein‘s Machine Games are among the developers and IPs being acquired by Microsoft in this purchase.

The purchase of Zenimax and Bethesda by Microsoft won’t change a whole lot at either of those studios now, according to a statement from Pete Hines, Bethesda’s vice president of PR and marketing. “But the key point is we’re still Bethesda,” said Hines. “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.” Details in a press release from Bethesda reveal that the developer’s “structure and leadership will remain in place.” Todd Howard isn’t going anywhere, folks.

Phil Spencer, the Head of Xbox, also released a statement, revealing some of Microsoft’s plans for its recently acquired IPs and how they will benefit the recently-revealed Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. Although it appears Microsoft will have a mostly hands-off approach when it comes to Bethesda and Zenimax, it won’t hesitate in bringing new releases from those companies into the Game Pass package. “We will be adding Bethesda’s iconic franchises to Xbox Game Pass for console and PC,” said Spencer. And that does mean every future title, from The Elder Scrolls VI to the enigmatic Starfield currently in development by Bethesda game studios.

Microsoft’s purchase of Bethesda and Zenimax today is more than your run-of-the-mill acquisition. This is an industry-shaking event, with consequences stretching far into the future of gaming. One of the benefits Bethesda and Zenimax had prior to today was the freedom to release content on any platform they wanted. Granted, Microsoft isn’t exactly frugal with its IPs any more (even Minecraft is on a Nintendo console), but I still can’t shake the idea of the PS5 coming out and never seeing a title from Bethesda or Zenimax. Only time will tell what Microsoft has in store for its new IPs.

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Otto Kratky

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