Microsoft buys ZeniMax Media in $7.5bn deal
MICROSOFT has acquired ZeniMax Media, owner of video game studio Bethesda, for $7.5bn (£5.8bn) in its largest ever purchase in the video games industry.
Bethesda has become a leading games studio thanks to hit games such as the Fallout series, the Elder Scrolls series and the Doom games. ZeniMax, based in Rockville, Maryland, also owns several other studios across the globe. Microsoft confirmed the deal in a blog post yesterday, writing that its Xbox division and Bethesda “have a close and storied history working together”.
The acquisition will see Microsoft gain control over Bethesda’s output, potentially allowing it to bring future games to Xbox consoles exclusively or with a timed release window before they are made available on Sony’s rival PlayStation video games system.
The deal, conducted entirely in cash, is expected to close in the second half of Microsoft’s 2021 fiscal year. It will give Microsoft access to Bethesda’s 2,300 employees across eight new video game development studios, bringing its total to 23 as the company prepares for the next wave of video games due to be released from the end of 2020 onwards.
Bethesda vice-president Peter Hines wrote in a blog post that the sale to Microsoft “allows us to make even better games going forward”.
Todd Howard, a director at Bethesda who leads development of the key Elder Scrolls and Fallout games, wrote yesterday that Microsoft had been Bethesda’s “longest and closest partner”.
Microsoft is preparing to release its next-generation series of Xbox consoles later this year in competition with Sony.
It announced a lower-cost “Series S” console which will not include a disc drive but will be priced at a competitive £249.