Microsoft has just announced that it is acquiring ZeniMax Media, the parent company behind game development and publishing powerhouses such as Bethesda Softworks, Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, ZeniMax Online Studios, Arkane, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog, and Roundhouse Studios. As expected, the whole team from the aforementioned ZeniMax Media-owned studios will be merged with Microsoft’s own Xbox team. Microsoft has not revealed the financial details of the acquisition. But as per a Bloomberg report, the company has spent around $7.5 billion for the deal, which is claimed to be Microsoft’s biggest video game purchase ever.
“We will be adding Bethesda’s iconic franchises to Xbox Game Pass for console and PC. One of the things that has me most excited is seeing the roadmap with Bethesda’s future games, some announced and many unannounced, to Xbox console and PC including Starfield, the highly anticipated, new space epic currently in development by Bethesda Game Studios” chief of Microsoft’s Xbox division, Phil Spencer, wrote in an official blog post. However, he did suggest that the games falling under ZeniMax’s ownership will hit the Xbox and the PC ecosystem as well.
In case you’re wondering, the aforementioned ZeniMax-owned studios have been behind some of the most iconic game franchises of the past decades. Talking about titles published under the Bethesda Softworks label, they include marquee franchises such as The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Rage, Dishonored, the rebooted Doom titles, Wolfenstein, The Evil Within, and Prey series. Microsoft has not announced immediate plans on how the acquisition will have any immediate impact regarding the distribution of these games, but they will certainly be made a part of the Xbox and PC ecosystem via the Xbox Game Pass route in the foreseeable future.
The company has not made any major announcements regarding new projects coming out of the deal though. However, bringing in a talent pool of veteran developers with experience of making some globally-acclaimed, massively engaging games will definitely help Microsoft boost its own selection of first-party games. And if executed well, this will definitely help the Xbox ecosystem gain some necessary foothold in its rivalry against Sony’s PlayStation brand, especially now that the next-gen consoles (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X) are just about to hit the shelves.
Sony has traditionally had an upper hand over the Xbox lineup due to a superior selection of first-party games and developers also preferring its PlayStation platform over the Xbox ecosystem. It now remains to be seen how Microsoft handles its latest gold mine – will it take beloved franchises such as The Elder Scrolls and Wolfenstein to newer heights, or will they lose their edge under Microsoft’s shed, something many avid gamers have already started worrying about. What do you think about Microsoft acquiring Bethesda and other ZeniMax-owned studios? Do let us known in the comments below.