Microsoft is buying Bethesda, id, Arkane and more for $7.5 billion

Microsoft has revealed it’s entering into an agreement to buy ZeniMax Media, one of the video game industry’s largest independent game publishers, for $7.5 billion USD (about $9.9 billion CAD).

ZeniMax’s stable of studios, which includes id Software, Arkane Studios and Bethesda, are behind iconic video game franchises like Doom, Wolfenstein, Quake, Fallout and The Elder Scrolls.

In a recent Xbox blog post, Phil Spencer, the head of all things Xbox at Microsoft, says this will mean more Bethesda titles are coming to Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass for console and PC soon. This adds even more value to the already impressive game subscription platform.

“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,” said Spencer.

Given that Microsoft’s Xbox console line lacks exclusive titles when compared to Sony’s PlayStation systems, this is definitely a good move for the tech giant. That said, it’s unclear if Microsoft actually aims to make future entries in the series exclusive to its Xbox console.

For example, the company purchased Minecraft back in 2014 for $2.5 billion USD (about $3.3 billion CAD) and continued to release the game across all major video game consoles, including the PlayStation 4. While it’s still unclear, given the amount of money Microsoft is paying for ZeniMax, at least some future titles will presumably be exclusive to Xbox and PC.

It’s currently unclear what this deal means for two games from Bethesda’s studio catalogue, Arkane’s Deathloop and Tango Gameworks’ Ghostwire: Tokyo. Both titles are set to be timed exclusives when they release on PlayStation 5 in 2021. Given existing exclusivity agreements, though, they will presumably still come to PS5 as planned before heading to Xbox consoles.

“We’re still working on the same games we were yesterday, made by the same studios we’ve worked with for years, and those games will be published by us,” said Bethesda marketing head Pete Hines in a recent statement.

Microsoft’s upcoming Xbox Series X and Series S are set to release on November 10th for $599 and $379, respectively.

Source: Microsoft, Bethesda

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