Microsoft to Acquire Bethesda Parent ZeniMax Media and Exclusivity to 'Fallout', 'DOOM' and More

Microsoft today announced plans to acquire ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks, creators of critically acclaimed and best-selling gaming franchises including The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, and DOOM, among others.

Under the terms of the agreement, Microsoft will acquire ZeniMax Media for a hefty sum of $7.5 billion in cash!

The planned acquisition includes publishing offices and development studios spanning the globe with over 2,300 employees, including Bethesda Softworks, Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, ZeniMax Online Studios, Arkane, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog, and Roundhouse Studios.

Bethesda’s critically acclaimed and best-selling franchises also include Quake, Wolfenstein, and Dishonored, Prey, The Evil Within, and many more.

"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 Xbox Vice President Phil Spencer. "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."

Spencer also confirmed that Bethesda’s library of games and its back catalogue will be available via their already stellar Xbox Game Pass, offering gamers even more incentive to sign up for the subscription based service.

In regards to PlayStation 5, Bethesda will honor their deals with Sony for games like Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo, but the acquisition announcement wasn't entirely clear on the future of Bethesda titles on PlayStation, only stating that Bethesda's future games will be on Xbox, PC, and other consoles on a "case by case basis." However, given that Microsoft just paid a pretty penny for exclusivity rights, I certainly don't see them being too generous towards other consoles.

But who knows, the partnership may be similar to Microsoft's acquisition of Minecraft developers Mojang Studios, which didn't restrict the base game and subsequent Minecraft titles to Microsoft platforms.

Either way, this is a massive blow for Sony, who appeared to have a slight upper hand in the next generation of "console wars" after announcing the PS5's price, release date and slate of launch titles just last week.