One day before gamers can preorder the next-gen Xbox Series X console from Microsoft, the massive software company has announced a similarly massive purchase. In a deal that puts Disney's $4B purchase of Star Wars to shame, Microsoft has purchased ZeniMax Media for $7.5B. That's a ton of money for a company with no name recognition, but fans of AAA video games will know its works: ZeniMax is the parent company of Bethesda's Fallout and Elder Scrolls, id Software's Doom, Arkane's Dishonored, and many more. Looks like Master Chief will be bringing a few new friends onto team Microsoft.
Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox, posted the news on the official Xbox site early today. While some of the post is inside baseball (exactly which developers and publishers were added to the Microsoft umbrella), the gist is clear: fans of these giant, beloved gaming franchises might want to start looking to an Xbox or PC future. As the console wars look to start a new campaign with the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X about to launch this holiday, snapping up some of the most popular games out there is certainly one way to help gamers make a choice.
While there were no cut-and-dry promises of console exclusives, there were still some inklings towards the future. "We will be adding Bethesda’s iconic franchises to Xbox Game Pass for console and PC," Spencer wrote on the blog. And for those on the other side of the deal? "We’re still working on the same games we were yesterday, made by the same studios we’ve worked with for years, and those games will be published by us," wrote Bethesda's Pete Hines.
This is the biggest purchase Microsoft has made in the games sector ever — and a giant leap from its $2.5 billion purchase of Minecraft maker Mojang in 2014. The full deal includes Bethesda Softworks, Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, ZeniMax Online Studios, Arkane, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog, and Roundhouse Studios. The Xbox Series X will cost gamers $499, while its less beefy cousin, the Xbox Series S, will only set them back $299.
Xbox Series X preorders begin tomorrow, Sept. 22, while the console itself launches on Nov. 10.