Microsoft acquires ZeniMax/Bethesda for $7.5 billion

By Luke Albigés,
Sure, we have a whole separate site for reporting on all things Xbox, but this is pretty major news for the entire industry. In a surprising announcement earlier today, Microsoft announced that it was in the process of acquiring ZeniMax Media, parent company of Bethesda Softworks, for the bargain price of just $7.5 billion. To put that in perspective, that's the same price as 125 million full-price copies of Skyrim, and almost double what Disney paid for Star Wars.

zenimax

While this acquisition raised more than a few questions and concerns, most were quickly addressed. Existing deals on PlayStation releases — specifically Deathloop and GhostWire: Tokyo being a exclusives on PS5, if only for a time in Deathloop's case — will continue as planned, just like PlayStation owners are still able to buy Minecraft despite Microsoft also owning developer Mojang. What it means looking forward, however, is not quite so clear. Any future Bethesda releases will only be coming to Xbox and PC, with other consoles apparently being considered "on a case-by-case basis."

So what does this mean for The Elder Scrolls VI? For Starfield? For the next Fallout game? For whatever comes next from Doom, Wolfenstein, Prey, Dishonored, and all of Bethesda's other huge franchises? Truth is, we don't know. And we won't know until Microsoft or Bethesda announces platforms for its titles individually. Best not to panic about the Skyrim follow-up being an Xbox exclusive before it's even been confirmed. It would have been all too easy for Microsoft to come out today and announce that all future Bethesda games would be exclusive to Xbox, but that didn't happen. There's still hope.

You have to consider profitability here, and with Bethesda's new games set to join Xbox Game Pass on release day just like all other first-party titles, actual sales of those titles will most likely be way down on what they might otherwise be. So it could be that other platforms in addition to PC — like, for instance, PS5 — could serve as a way to recoup costs while still allowing MS to offer the best deal in giving those games away for free to Game Pass subscribers. We'll just have to wait and see.

Whatever happens, Microsoft buying Bethesda is huge news that will have a significant effect on the gaming landscape heading into this new generation. We'll be sure to keep an eye on Bethesda's upcoming games and let you know when they're coming to PlayStation... and when they're not. Which Bethesda franchise could you not live without? Let us know below!
Luke Albigés
Written by Luke Albigés
Hey, I'm Luke! I've been playing games since way back in the 8-bit days, and have spent the last 15+ years writing and talking about them professionally for anyone and everyone who would let me. Monster Hunter fanatic, wearer of many fine hats, and always up for a raid.