Xbox rocks the gaming industry with monumental acquisition.
On Monday morning, the day before Xbox Series X/S preorders were set to go live, Microsoft dropped an absolute industry megaton. ZeniMax Media, the parent company to one of gaming’s most prestigious development and publishing labels, Bethesda, will be acquired by Microsoft for $7.5 billion. The deal secures 2,300 employees across Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, Arkane, Machine Games, Tango Gameworks and more. Bethesda’s array of IP are also part of the deal which include, The Elder Scrolls, Starfield, Doom, Wolfenstein, Dishonored, The Evil Within and the upcoming timed PS5 exclusives, Deathloop and Ghostwire Tokyo.
In a blog post, Xbox head Phil Spencer stated, “Bethesda’s games have always had a special place on Xbox and in the hearts of millions of gamers around the world.” Spencer went on, “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”.
Many theorized that Microsoft would shell out some major cash after their hallmark next gen launch game, Halo: Infinite, was delayed into 2021. Microsoft would have to find a way to attract audiences to the Xbox ecosystem without the help of Master Chief… at least at launch. However, the value proposition this acquisition provides Xbox players is now vast. Each and every Bethesda game, like other Microsoft Studio titles, will launch day and date on Xbox Game Pass. Phil Spencer has also confirmed with Bloomberg that Microsoft will honor the PS5 timed exclusivity deals currently in place for Deathloop and Ghostwire Tokyo. Additionally, Spencer said that all future Bethesda titles would release on Xbox, PC and “other consoles on a case by case basis”.
To put this acquisition into perspective, Microsoft paid $3 billion for Minecraft creator Mojang and Facebook acquired Oculus for $2 billion. The only modern gaming deal bigger than today’s acquisition was Tencent’s 2016 acquisition of Clash of Clans developer, Supercell, which was worth $8.6 billion. With that one outlier aside, it’s safe to call this purchase the biggest gaming acquisition in history and it’s certainly the most impactful for the core gaming audience.
As we inch closer and closer toward next gen launch, competition is certainly heating up! One of Microsoft’s seeming weaknesses has been hemmed up in one fell swoop. November 10th will be here before you know it and Microsoft has put themselves in a great position to be the market leader in the next generation.