Microsoft has officially moved to acquire ZeniMax Media for $7.5 billion in cash. The parent holding company, as well as all of its publishing and development studios, will now be part of Xbox Game Studios going into the next generation.
ZeniMax Media owns several industry-leading publishers and developers like Bethesda Softworks, known for The Elder Scrolls and Fallout franchises; id Software, known for the Doom, Wolfenstein, and Rage franchises; Arkane Studios, known for the Dishonored and Prey franchises; and Tango Gameworks, known for The Evil Within franchise. They, and others like MachineGames and Roundhouse Studios, will all now transition into first-party offerings for Microsoft.
Xbox Game Studios was previously housing 15 in-house development studios for Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. The addition of ZeniMax Media increases that number to 23 and which makes for a fine promise of next-generation games.
Microsoft has further confirmed that following the acquisition, all “iconic franchises” of Bethesda Softworks will be added to Xbox Game Pass. That and upcoming games like Starfield (and probably The Elder Scrolls 6) will be available through Xbox Game Pass on day one.
“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,” said ZeniMax Media CEO Robert Altman, while also noting that the acquisition will not change the current structure or leadership.
The movement of assets and financial closures will close in the second half of the 2021 fiscal year, subject to customary closing conditions and the completion of a regulatory review. Microsoft, if it still requires clarifying, has just purchased some of the most popular video game franchises in recent history for Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S.