Microsoft has purchased ZeniMax media, parent company of one of the worlds largest game developers, in a deal worth $7.5 billion.
The technology giant agreed to an all cash deal to acquire ZeniMax, which owns Bethesda Softworks, in a move which could potentially see its Xbox console secure a significant edge over rivals.
Bethesda Softworks, Bethesda Game Studios, ID Software, Arkane and MachineGames, will all now be integrated into Microsoft including a collective 2300 employees across the globe.
This will see the studio’s iconic franchises including Doom, Elder Scrolls, Wolfenstein, Fallout, Dishonoured and Quake added to the Xbox Game Pass, its cloud streaming service with over 15 million subscribers worldwide.
This comes just weeks before the release of Microsoft’s next generation Xbox Series X and its key rival Sony’s PlayStation 5 are released.
While its yet unclear what this will mean in terms of access to these franchises for gamers, it puts Microsoft in the position to make these titles exclusive to Xbox, potentially having a significant impact on the consoles future sales.
According to Microsoft the gaming industry is set to be worth $200 billion in annual revenue by 2021, and this is its latest effort to secure a significant piece of the pie.
It also comes just weeks after Microsoft’s bid for social media giant TikTok was rejected, suggesting that the pandemic has not hampered its appetite for growth.
“Gaming is the most expansive category in the entertainment industry, as people everywhere turn to gaming to connect, socialize and play with their friends,” Microsoft’s chief executive Satya Nadella said.
“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.”
ZeniMax Media’s chief executive Robert Altman added: “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.
“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.”