Microsoft Corp. said monday it plans to acquire ZeniMax Media Inc., owner of the popular video game company Bethesda Softworks for $ 7.5 billion in cash marks the largest video game purchase of all time.
Bethesda publishes games like The Elder Scrolls, Doom, and Fallout, and has at least two titles planned to debut next year. ZeniMax, based in Rockville, Maryland, also owns several other studios around the world, giving Microsoft’s Xbox business a much-needed infusion of titles and game developers. According to Microsoft, it is one of the largest private game companies with 2,300 employees worldwide.
At the same time as Microsoft, Microsoft is launching a new generation of Xbox consoles in November PlayStation 5 from Sony Corp. The games for the new Xbox have so far disappointed some gamers, especially after Microsoft delayed its biggest title, Halo Infinite, until next year. The software maker has added new game developers and content, including the acquisition of six studios in 2018 and one last year. It spent $ 2.5 billion to buy the Minecraft maker in 2014.
Microsoft relies on its Game Pass game subscription service to attract users and increase sales and needs compelling content to attract customers to this product. According to Microsoft, Game Pass now has 15 million subscribers, up from 10 million announced in April.
“Bethesda’s games have always had a special place on Xbox and in the hearts of millions of gamers around the world,” said Xbox CEO Phil Spencer on a blog Post Office. “Our teams have a close and storied history that work together.”
Recently, however, Bethesda has been working more closely with Sony. Bethesda had previously agreed to debut two of its upcoming games, Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo, on Sony’s new PlayStation instead of Xbox. Both games have been touted as “Timed Console Exclusives,” which means they will be limited to the PlayStation 5 for a set period of time before coming to Xbox. It remains to be seen how this acquisition will affect this deal.
Microsoft expects the transaction to close in the second half of fiscal year 2021, which ends June 30, and will have a “minimal” impact on adjusted operating income for the current and next fiscal year. Shares fell 1.4% to $ 197.66 at 9:35 a.m. in New York.
Sony’s starting line-up for the PlayStation 5 is stronger than Microsoft’s, and this machine is expected to outperform the new Xbox devices, the series X. and Series S, according to George Jijiashvili, an analyst at researcher Omdia.
Bethesda was a pioneer in the PC game market and an early developer of new types of games. The company was founded in 1986 by Christopher Weaver and initially developed soccer and hockey simulation games before the role-playing title The Elder Scrolls was published in 1994.
ZeniMax was founded in 1999 by Weaver and Robert Altman, the company’s chief executive officer, to serve as the parent company for Bethesda. Over the next decade, the company acquired the Fallout franchise and Id Software, maker of Doom and Quake. Bethesda’s structure and leadership will remain in place, Microsoft said.
(Updates with Microsoft comment in the fifth paragraph.)