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Microsoft buys Bethesda for $7.5 billion: Fallout, Elder Scrolls, DOOM, more

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Big news today from the Xbox camp has officially confirmed Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda parent company ZeniMax Media — one of the largest independent game publishers on the planet. ZeniMax Media owns a number of the biggest and historically relevant game development studios out there including, but not limited to, id Software, Arkane Studios, Tango Gameworks, and Bethesda Game Studios — subsequently welcoming a series of massive game franchises to the Xbox family from Prey and Dishonored, to DOOM, The Elder Scrolls, Wolfenstein, and Fallout. Head below for more details.

Microsoft acquires Bethesda, Arkane, id Software, more:

On the eve of Xbox Series S/X pre-orders, Microsoft’s acquisition might be the most exciting announcement in gaming this year. What this means for exclusivity moving forward appears to be somewhat unclear at this point, but Microsoft might have just gained some serious ground in its war against PlayStation 5.

And when we say ZeniMax Media is among the largest games publishers out there, we meant it. Bethesda alone has over 2,300 people working worldwide and some of the most beloved franchises in gaming. Microsoft just inked an all-cash deal worth $7.5 billion to take over the global game publisher. The deal is expected to complete sometime in the second half of 2021, pending regularly approval of course. Reports suggest the purchase has been in the works for most of this year with Sony vying for control to some degree as well.

In today’s announcement, Microsoft points out how closely connected these brands have been over the years. Bethesda’s first console game, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, appeared on the original Xbox and the teams worked together to release the first DOOM on PC, with the historical deal bringing things full circle. 

Again, it’s hard to say exactly what this will mean for titles created by houses under the ZeniMax umbrella in the future. But we do know Microsoft will be “adding Bethesda’s iconic franchises to Xbox Game Pass for console and PC and that Bethesda has “been actively investing in new gaming technology like cloud streaming.”

9to5Toys’ Take:

This now means that Microsoft owns the publisher responsible for a couple of PlayStation exclusives including Ghostwire: Tokyo (Tango) and Deathloop (Arkane) — both titles appeared in the PS5 game showcase. There’s no word on whether or not these titles will come to Xbox at some point down the line. Which immediately brings up more wide-ranging questions with regards to upcoming Bethesda games like Starfield and Elder Scrolls 6. These massive titles were widely expected to be cross-platform and might still be, but it will be interesting to see how Bethesda titles align themselves with Microsoft even more than ever before moving forward. And, an influx of great experiences on Game Pass really couldn’t hurt.

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