Microsoft announces acquisition of ZeniMax Media and Bethesda Softworks

by on September 21, 2020

The next generation of consoles is very nearly upon us and with pre-orders of the new Xbox Series X and Series S going live very soon, Microsoft has announced another major acquisition to it’s roster of studios – ZeniMax Media and game publisher Bethesda Softworks.

ZeniMax and Bethesda are one of the largest, most critically acclaimed, privately held game developers and publishers in the world employing a group of 2,300 people worldwide. The studios included are Bethesda Softworks, Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, ZeniMax Online Studios, Arkane, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog, and Roundhouse Studios. The various teams are responsible for some of the biggest franchises in gaming including The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Wolfenstein, DOOM, Dishonored, Prey, Quake, Starfield and many, many more.

The announcement will come as a big surprise, but Bethesda has been an early supporter of Xbox Game Pass and future games will be coming to Xbox Game Pass for console and PC.

“Gaming is the most expansive category in the entertainment industry, as people everywhere turn to gaming to connect, socialize and play with their friends,” said Satya Nadella, CEO, 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.”

“This is an awesome time to be an Xbox fan. In the last 10 days alone, we’ve released details on our two new consoles which go on pre-order tomorrow, launched cloud gaming in Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, and now we’re making another investment in the most critical part of our strategy: the games,” said Phil Spencer, executive vice president, 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.”

Bethesda parent company ZeniMax Media was founded in 1999 by Chairman and CEO Robert A. Altman; Bethesda’s structure and leadership will remain in place.

“This is a thrilling day for this company, our employees, and our fans. 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.”

Microsoft has agreed to acquire ZeniMax Media for $7.5 billion in cash and is expected to close in the second half of fiscal year 2021.