Microsoft has purchased ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks, for $7.5 billion in cash, which brings legendary video game franchises such as Fallout, Elder Scrolls, Doom and Quake to the Microsoft family.
According to the press release posted Monday morning, the transaction is expected to close in the second half of fiscal year 2021. The acquisition includes Bethesda Softworks, Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, ZeniMax Online Studios, Arkane, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog and Roundhouse Studios.
“Bethesda’s games have always had a special place on Xbox and in the hearts of millions of gamers around the world,” said Xbox brand head Phil Spencer on a blog posted to Xbox Wire on Monday morning. “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.”
Founded in 1999 by Chairman and CEO Robert A. Altman, ZeniMax Media is based in Rockville, Maryland and until the Microsoft purchase was a privately owned company. Two of Bethesda’s most popular titles are Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, which has sold more than 20 million copies since its release in November 2011, and Fallout 4, which sold 12 million copies in its first 24 hours in November 2015.
Bethesda had previously been developing two games as timed console exclusives for Sony’s PlayStation 5: Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo. Spencer told Bloomberg.com that Microsoft plans to honor the exclusivity commitment for both games.
Microsoft’s portfolio of video game developers also includes Mojang Studios (Minecraft), Obsidian Entertainment (The Outer Worlds, Fallout: New Vegas), Rare (Battletoads, Killer Instinct, Banjo-Kazooie) and Ninja Theory (Devil May Cry).