This morning, Microsoft dropped some major news as they are acquiring Bethesda Softworks' parent company ZeniMax. The planned acquisition includes publishing offices and development studios globally for all 2,300 employees. Microsoft will now have Bethesda Softworks, Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, ZeniMax Online Studios, Arkane, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog, and Roundhouse Studios all under its banner. According to the press release, Bethesda's structure and leadership will remain in place, and it appears there are no plans to rebrand anything as they intend to keep the identity the individual companies have built up over the past two decades. Here are some quotes from today's announcement.
"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."
"This is an awesome time to be an Xbox fan. In the last 10 days alone, we've released details on our two new consoles which go on pre-order tomorrow, launched cloud gaming in Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, and now we're making another investment in the most critical part of our strategy: the games," said Phil Spencer, executive vice president, Gaming at Microsoft. "Generations of gamers have been captivated by the renowned franchises in the Bethesda portfolio and will continue to be so for years to come as part of Xbox."
"This is a thrilling day for this company, our employees, and our fans. We have enjoyed a close partnership with Microsoft for decades, and this deal is a natural progression of those years working together," said ZeniMax Chairman and CEO Robert A. Altman. "The big winners today are our fans. We are continuing to develop our slate of AAA games, but now with Microsoft's scale and entire Game Stack, our games can only get better."
Regardless of what you think of either company or their games, you can't deny this is a huge deal for Microsoft. Sure, Microsoft is out $7.5 billion, but they just gained one of the most lucrative game libraries on the planet. Obviously there's a lot at play here as Bethesda as a company isn't going to just drop current contracts and plans, meaning Deathloop will still end up on the PS5 as an exclusive. But you have to know that all games moving forward from franchises like The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, DOOM, Quake, Wolfenstein, and Dishonored will now become PC/Xbox exclusives when they launch. Maybe they'll do some stuff with the Switch, but it will be interesting to see if they become as selfish with some of these properties as Sony has with theirs. And if you're a fan of Bethesda but a PlayStation owner, you now have to make an interesting choice.