Microsoft Acquires Bethesda Softworks Parent Company ZeniMax for $7.5 Billion

Microsoft Acquires Bethesda Softworks Parent Company ZeniMax for $7.5 Billion - News

by William D'Angelo , posted on 01 October 2020 / 4,828 Views

Microsoft has announced they have acquired Bethesda Softworks parent company ZeniMax Media for $7.5 billion. Xbox Game Studios will grow from 15 to 23 studios. Also revealed is Game Pass has reached 15 million subscribers.

The list of acquired studios includes Bethesda Softworks, Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, ZeniMax Online Studios, Arkane, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog, and Roundhouse Studios with over 2,300 employees. The teams are known for franchises like The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Wolfenstein, DOOM, Dishonored, Prey, Quake, Starfield, and many more.

The goal is to release Bethesda's future games on Xbox Game Pass on the same day they launch on Xbox and PC, like Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VI.

Microsoft plans to honor the Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo PlayStation exclusivity deals. However, Future Bethesda games will be on Xbox, PC, and "other consoles on a case by case basis."

"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."

"Bethesda’s games have always had a special place on Xbox and in the hearts of millions of gamers around the world," said the head of Xbox Phil Spencer. "Our teams have a close and storied history working together, from the amazing first DOOM, and its id Tech engine, innovating games on PCs to Bethesda bringing their first console game to the original Xbox, the groundbreaking The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. 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.

"Just as they took the bold first steps to bring The Elder Scrolls franchise to the original Xbox, Bethesda were early supporters of Xbox Game Pass, bringing their games to new audiences across devices and have been actively investing in new gaming technology like cloud streaming of games. 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.

"Like us, Bethesda are passionate believers in building a diverse array of creative experiences, in exploring new game franchises, and in telling stories in bold ways. All of their great work will of course continue and grow and we look forward to empowering them with the resources and support of Microsoft to scale their creative visions to more players in new ways for you.

"All of our work, and the foundation of our relationship with you, starts with a commitment to deliver a breadth of amazing games to discover and play on Xbox.  Over the last few weeks, we’ve been excited to share more detail on important elements of a plan we’ve been building towards for years. A plan that is the fulfilment of a promise, to you the Xbox player, to deliver the most performant, immersive and compatible next-generation gaming experiences, and the freedom to play blockbuster games with your friends, anytime, anywhere. Today is a landmark step in our journey together and I’m incredibly energized by what this step means for Xbox."


A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel dedicated to gaming Let's Plays and tutorials. You can contact the author at wdangelo@vgchartz.com or on Twitter @TrunksWD.


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82 Comments

VAMatt (on 21 September 2020)

Holy shit. That's huge.


Manlytears (on 21 September 2020)

This is the first time... the first time the argument "Microsoft is rich, they can just buy everything ..." really took shape ... I wonder how Playstation can beat this? I'm truly stunned.


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Jranation (on 21 September 2020)

If people think MS is out of the gaming industry they should think again.


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Jranation (on 21 September 2020)

I wouldnt be saying that with an Edelgard picture.


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Srex117 (on 21 September 2020)

Wow. Unlike some ppl here, i think they will keep Doom, TES, Fallout and rest PC/Xbox only. I dont see any point paying that much much money to keep them on all platforms . Either way i am good whatever they do since i am going full PC from now on with maybe only ps5 buy at the end of gen.


SanAndreasX (on 21 September 2020)

Yep. Microsoft is getting out its checkbook to cock-block Sony and Nintendo again.


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AFattyGamer (on 21 September 2020)

It's a chance this could hurt the gaming industry as a whole in the long run. However I like the fact the Microsoft is flexing their $1 trillion dollar net worth at Sony. A Sony that's under pressure is one that fights back hard. This'll push Sony even more to outdo Microsoft and Nintendo, which that benfits us gamers I feel :)


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A_Robo_Commando (on 21 September 2020)

From IGN, possibly alluding to games still being multi-platform: While avoiding any specifics, Todd Howard also alluded to the idea of exclusives indicating, perhaps that Bethesda would not be limited to the Xbox ecosystem: "Like our original partnership, this one is about more than one system or one screen. We share a deep belief in the fundamental power of games, in their ability to connect, empower, and bring joy. And a belief we should bring that to everyone - regardless of who you are, where you live, or what you play on. Regardless of the screen size, the controller, or your ability to even use one."


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TheLegendaryBigBoss (on 21 September 2020)

Wow I did not expect that.


Slownenberg (on 21 September 2020)

Damn that's big news. Will be interesting to see how this plays out in terms of multiplatform vs exclusive titles.


TheLegendaryBigBoss (on 21 September 2020)

Fallout new vegas sequel and more games coming to gamepass?!


FloatingWaffles (on 21 September 2020)

where are all the people who said the microsoft warchest was not real lmao, they're a trillion dollar company and phil managed to convince them gaming was important again, shit like this was always possible after that


BraLoD (on 21 September 2020)

Megaton.


jamesmarkus87 (on 21 September 2020)

Can we PLEASE get remasters for Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas?


OTBWY (on 21 September 2020)

Dude GG.


Immersiveunreality (on 21 September 2020)

Damn,that's a lot of exclusives not being on sony consoles.


Jannlee48504 (on 21 September 2020)

This is huge...I love this decision imagine when doom does its esports games they'll be promoting series x from now on....since Sony decided to be greedy withe the final fantasy timed exclusive maybe MS should do the same with elders scrolls 6 lol


SecondWar (on 21 September 2020)

Well this is a bit unexpected and unsure how this will pan out. Seems unlikely franchises like Elder Scrolls, Fallout and Doom will become Xbox exclusives. More likely they'll go down similar routes to Minecraft and Ori & Will of the Wisps.


Heavenly_King (on 21 September 2020)

ok, depending how this pan out it the future; XBSX maybe my second console this gen.


Jranation (on 21 September 2020)

Idk maybe if your desperate enough...... all you really need is Xboxgame pass.


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V-r0cK (on 21 September 2020)

That's definitely huge but I never cared for their games thankfully *phew*


Bandorr (on 21 September 2020)

I only cared for dishonored. Even then I didn't get the one after Dishonored 2.


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V-r0cK (on 21 September 2020)

I played Dishonored and I also didnt get the sequel lol It's good but not enough that makes me want to get an Xbox (yet)


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LivncA_Dis3 (on 21 September 2020)

i agree with u,
only games i was intrested in was dishonored, picked up dishonored 2 and it was meh samey samey,
the evil within 1/2 are decent but they wont be missed lol


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AFattyGamer (on 21 September 2020)

As I said before, Microsoft is aiming at Sony this time around. HUGE NEWS. I'm curious how Sony will respond to this


yvanjean (on 21 September 2020)

Wow... Microsft really step up in a big way to start this generation. So hype to pre-order tomorrow!!!!


AFattyGamer (on 21 September 2020)

Microsoft is coming for it. I'm happy to see that Microsoft won't let Sony win 9th gen without a fight. I still feel the Sony PS5 will outsell the Microsoft Series X but it won't be as easy now.


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VAMatt (on 22 September 2020)

I hope I'll be able to get one today....


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CaptainExplosion (on 21 September 2020)

They better not fuck this up like they did Rare (until 2019 that is).


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Stellar_Fungk (on 21 September 2020)

I'm shook as fuck


mjk45 (on 21 September 2020)

it may well have to do with the rumour that was going around about Sony buying bethesda and MS trumped them.


Darwinianevolution (on 21 September 2020)

So will this be the start of the buyout of medium-sized gaming companies, not just indies, by the big boys? Which one will be the next?


Bandorr (on 21 September 2020)

Imagine buying out Bandai or Square Enix.


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Ryotsu (on 21 September 2020)

Poor Bethesda


CGI-Quality (on 22 September 2020)

Bit of a mess in here. Some of you guys really are taking this to a whole new level. I certainly get being happy or angry about this move, and people are entitled to feel how they feel. But, when you've let things get out of hand, it steps into a whole new world of problems.


fauzman (on 21 September 2020)

Smart move by MS. Bethesda produces a lot of singleplayer games which is where MS is a bit weaker. Of course the implications for gaming are mind-boggling and it will now be really interesting to see sales figures with Bethesda's huge titles under Xbox. Lets hope that MS keeps its itchy fingers off them and doesnt try to fit in GAAS or microtransactions into all Bethesda's IPs.


SanAndreasX (on 21 September 2020)

Did you miss Fallout 76? Bethesda was already on board with GAAS and MTX. Bethesda was already giving up on single-player games.


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Mr Puggsly (on 21 September 2020)

Great timing with a new gen coming. Now MS should put all the Bethesda games on Gamepass soon. Ideally the Doom Eternal like today.


Ayla (on 21 September 2020)

Buy Konami next Microsoft.


shikamaru317 (on 22 September 2020)

If MS were to buy a JP publisher, I'd rather they buy Sega. It's half the price of Konami, and Sega actually has talented developers working there, the talent all left Konami years ago, MS would be spending a fortune just to get some IP's with no developers to work on said IP's.


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Eric2048 (on 21 September 2020)

Well it's a good thing i have a PC. Although Besthesda games have been dropping in quality so i'm not sure it even matters.


Qwark (on 21 September 2020)

PS5 is doomed :p


Azzanation (on 21 September 2020)

I wonder if Sony will continue to lock games up with timed deals and FF16, knowing that now MS have a lot of monster IPs, that they could do the same with, or they take the foot off the pedal and allow games on everything.


Qwark (on 21 September 2020)

Why would MS bother to release games like TES and Fallout on PS5 sure they miss some sales. But most PS5 gamers have a pc.


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Azzanation (on 22 September 2020)

Its just how MS have been working lately, they see it more as buisness than competition. There are MS games on Switch and PS4, why would they change?


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Imaginedvl (on 21 September 2020)

Oracle got TikTok! Microsoft got Bethesda. I'm okay with that :)


StokedUp (on 21 September 2020)

Games will remain Multiplatform apparently.


SecondWar (on 21 September 2020)

Makes sense for existing games but for future releases?


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VAMatt (on 21 September 2020)

There's no way that they make those all XB/PC exclusives. That would kill the value of the company that they just purchased. My guess is that they'll end up with occasional timed exclusivity, and an exclusive new IP once in a while.


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Bandorr (on 21 September 2020)

Odds are this is just a game pass play. Not the first time Microsoft has spent billions on a studio and not done anything to change the exclusivity of the games.


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GamingRabbit (on 21 September 2020)

Yes, my guess is that most of the games releases by those studios in the future will heavily favor XBox and PS.
May that be timed exclusivity, free DLC vs. paid DLC or just additional content overall.


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GamingRabbit (on 21 September 2020)

Yes, my guess is that most of the games releases by those studios in the future will heavily favor XBox and PS.
May that be timed exclusivity, free DLC vs. paid DLC or just additional content overall.


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AFattyGamer (on 21 September 2020)

They'll remain multi-plat for "now." That's the key word here. Microsoft gets the final word in all this. But seeing as how they acquired Mojang and Minecraft is still on Nintendo and Sony platforms, I don't think Microsoft will be compete assholes xD But damn. This changes everything. Is Sony sweating right now? I doubt it. Are they cautiously eyeing Microsoft? You're damn right.


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sales2099 (on 21 September 2020)

Hopeful at best. They said “case by case”


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Mystro-Sama (on 21 September 2020)

This is just too much. All its doing is indirectly killing the console industry. If more games start going Xbox/PC what would be the point in buying a console? Right now there are no true exclusives for the Xbox. Certain games won't be on the playstation and the PC version will inherently be better then the xbox version. I can't tell who started it first but these tit for tat third party exclusive deals are going to fuck the industry.


estebxx (on 21 September 2020)

I can understand timed exclusive stuff a la FF16 or back when MS got Tomb Raider for a year as well but buying out the whole company with tons of noteworthy IPs... yeah thats another level i haven't seen yet.


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LivncA_Dis3 (on 21 September 2020)

not a huge fan, so not a loss for me, if sony purchased bethesda they will get bashed, but if xbox purchased em all the praise ey? double standard hahaha!


Comments below voting threshold

Heavenly_King (on 21 September 2020)

This move really seems to me that they were desperate. But I get it.


Zyphe (on 21 September 2020)

RIP Sony. GGWP.


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SanAndreasX (on 21 September 2020)

What a dick move. Fuck Microsoft.


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shikamaru317 (on 21 September 2020)

Blame Sony. They made 2 timed moneyhat deals with Bethesda and were in negotations for a 3rd back in June according to an insider. Sony was specifically targeting Bethesda for their timed hats, a publisher who had very good relations with Xbox in the past. MS responded the only way they could to prevent Sony from moneyhatting timed exclusivity on even more Bethesda games.


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Dallinor (on 21 September 2020)

I know it makes it more exciting, but that's just not reality. MS aren't responding to some timed exclusives. Also why are framing them like the victim? MS could have outbid Sony for those timed exclusives. This is part of a much bigger strategy: Gamepass. MS are going all in to try and make a return on a very, very long term investment.


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hunter_alien (on 21 September 2020)

I am really sorry, but with this purchase, it is pretty clear that MS is cancer for the gaming industry. I am really curious how some Xbox fans will try to spin this as anything BUT a negative outcome for the industry. Losing a mega-publisher like this will not remain without side effects. Sony will have to follow with further purchases and soon many 3rd party major IP's will be locked behind exclusive deals. RIP Zenimax, RIP tthe console industry as we knew it, RIP game studio and studio culture building.


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Jannlee48504 (on 21 September 2020)

No one had an issue with Sony buying all the timed exclusives like final fantasy or blocking spiderman from the avengers game....so don't have a problem with Microsoft doing this i just feel bad for Playstation users because brand new ip's may never come to Playstation....u said ms didn't have any exclusives now they do


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Mr Puggsly (on 21 September 2020)

Relax, Sony has already stressed they are not reactive. MS needs more exclusives amd amd they have them.


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shikamaru317 (on 21 September 2020)

@Hunter MS already had a very good relationship with Bethesda before this. MS was the only console company to support Bethesda in their dream of putting the Elder Scrolls series on console, which is why TES 3 was OG Xbox exclusive and TES 4 was timed 360 exclusive. To say that those recent timed moneyhat deals of Sony's were because "they built up a good relationship with 3rd parties but MS buying Bethesda is just throwing money around" is disingenuous at best.


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Jranation (on 21 September 2020)

Did you just call Xbox GamePass cancer to the industry? I think you need to get your eyes checked.


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LudicrousSpeed (on 21 September 2020)

"studio culture building" LOL

I don't remember this outrage online when Sony bought Insomniac or Guerrilla or Zipper or Sucker Punch or Naughty Dog.


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ice (on 21 September 2020)

The difference between buying studios over time vs buying a publisher acquiring a bunch at one. Saying MS has no in house talent means you think the same for Sony as most their studios were bought including Naughty Dog @Hynad you complain MS has no good studios and then when they buy some you complain that they bought talent. Pick a battle.


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Hynad (on 21 September 2020)

Sony didn't have much talent back then and built their way up. Not battling anything.
MS had many studios that were good. One of them being Lionhead, and they shut it down.
Sony buys studios, Nintendo buys studios (although at a slower pace). In both cases, the studios they bought were already mostly making exclusive content for their respective platforms. In MS's case, they buy multiplatform developers, and while the jury is still out on this one, considering the way Minecraft has been handled, the chances that they will lock this content that was mutliplatform prior to their acquisitions are quite high. They want to build their gamepass offering and that's commendable. But it's still a blow to gamers who are used to get that content on any platform of their choosing.

And while all the others acquire studios here and there, MS just bought an effin' publishers that encompasses multiple fame studios.


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Azzanation (on 22 September 2020)

@Hunter I am sure you would be cheering if PS announced this buyout instead. Colours truly showing right now.


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