Microsoft has confirmed plans to acquire ZeniMax Media, the parent company of game developers and publishers Bethesda Softworks.
Bethesda is the studio behind several critically acclaimed and best-selling gaming franchises, including The Elder Scrolls and Fallout, and Microsoft today (September 21) announced plans to purchase ZeniMax Media for $7.5 billion in cash, which would bring Bethesda's impressive portfolio of games, technology and talent to Xbox.
Discussing this significant move, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella commented: "Gaming is the most expansive category in the entertainment industry, as people everywhere turn to gaming to connect, socialise and play with their friends.
"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."
Executive vice president of gaming at Microsoft, Phil Spencer, added: "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.
"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."
The planned acquisition, which is subject to customary closing conditions and completion of regulatory review, will see Microsoft acquire publishing offices and development studios across the world, including Bethesda Softworks, Bethesda Game Studios, ZeniMax Online Studios, Alpha Dog, Roundhouse Studios and more.
Bethesda's structure and leadership will remain in place, and ZeniMax Media's Chairman and CEO Robert A Altman has released a statement saying that this announcement marks a "thrilling" day for the company's fans.
"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," Altman said.
"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."
Following the acquisition of Bethesda, Microsoft will be adding its franchises to the Xbox Game Pass, with Microsoft intending to bring Bethesda's future games into Xbox Game Pass the same day they launch on Xbox or PC too.
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