Microsoft Acquires ZeniMax, Parent Company of Bethesda

Phil Spencer has begun the week with a doozy of an announcement: Microsoft has acquired ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda.

Bethesda is a critically acclaimed studio that has over 2,300 employees around the world and includes several studios including Bethesda Softworks, Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, ZeniMax Online Studios, Arkane, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog, and Roundhouse Studios.  These studios are responsible for such huge franchises DOOM, Fallout, Wolfenstein, Dishonored, Prey, Quake, Starfield, and more.

“Bethesda’s games have always had a special place on Xbox and in the hearts of millions of gamers around the world. 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,” commented Phil Spencer, “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.”

Phil mentions that Bethesda was an early supporter of Xbox Game Pass, which brought their games to subscribers across devices and investing in new gaming technology like cloud streaming for games. This means Bethesda games will now launch on day one on Game Pass and Game Pass for PC.

In an official press release, we learn more about the acquisition. Microsoft is paying $7.5 billion in cash for ZeniMax Media. We know that there are 15 million Game Pass subscribers and that number is growing. With this acquisition, Microsoft now owns 23 studios.

“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.”