[Updated: 11:06 am with Pete Hines and Todd Howard statements]
In one of the most unexpected gaming announcements of the year, Microsoft revealed that they have purchased ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda.
The deal is worth upwards of $7.5 billion and represents a major coup for the American-owned video game giant. Bethesda has a number of thriving 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 games such as The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Wolfenstein, Doom, Dishonored, Prey, Starfield, Quake and more.
The acquisition will see over 2,300 employees added to Microsoft’s overall business umbrella. While it’s not clear if Bethesda games will be exclusive to Microsoft consoles and PC’s in the future, Microsoft did announce that they will be adding Bethesda’s iconic franchises to their Xbox Game Pass service. In a post on their website, Microsoft commented on Bethesda’s special place in the games industry, and how excited they are that the deal is happening.
“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. 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.”
The timing of the announcement is an intriguing one, as pre-orders for the Xbox Series X and Series S go live at 8 a.m. PT / 11 a.m. ET on September 22 in North America. Seeing as Bethesda is one of the largest game developers on the market, this news could drive people to preorder the new Xbox consoles, and this is no doubt a story worth keeping an eye on. In the meantime, you can read the entirety of Microsoft’s announcement here.
Bethesda’s Pete Hines and Todd Howard have both posted their own statements on the Microsoft acquisition news. Hines refers to Microsoft as the “perfect fit,” for Bethesda, citing their history of working together and similar belief structures. He calls Microsoft an incredible partner and one that will help Bethesda continue to grow and innovate.
“So why the change? Because it allows us to make even better games going forward,” said Hines. “Microsoft is an incredible partner and offers access to resources that will make us a better publisher and developer. We believe that means better games for you to play. Simply put – we believe that change is an important part of getting better. We believe in pushing ourselves to be better. To innovate. To grow.
As for Todd Howard, he posted a lengthy article welcoming Microsoft and reflecting on Bethesda’s journey so far. In it he mentions Xbox and Bethesda’s collaboration starting with the original Xbox and Morrowind, onto the Xbox 360 and Oblivion, and through each new console cycle.
“We share a deep belief in the fundamental power of games, in their ability to connect, empower, and bring joy,” said Howard. “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.”