Microsoft announced on September 21, its acquisition of ZeniMax Media for $7.5B in cash. With the planned launch of the new generation of Xbox in November, Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda Softworks will give them ownership of top-selling games like “Fallout” and “Wolfenstein.”
The $7.5 deal is Microsoft’s biggest one yet, following its Minecraft acquisition amounting to $2.5B in 2014.
The Future of Gaming
“With the acquisition of Bethesda, we metaphorically and literally double our gaming content capacity.”
Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella
Microsoft said that it’s planning to add Bethesda’s franchises to the Xbox Game Pass, with over 15 million subscribers to date. This year, Microsoft will heavily rely on subscriptions through the Xbox Game Pass, which gives users access to tons of games. It also has a cloud gaming feature that lets users play on their phones or tablet. Additionally, Microsoft said that it’s planning to add Starfield to the Xbox Game Pass in November.
“Bethesda’s games have always had a special place on Xbox and in the hearts of millions of gamers around the world.” He also added, “Our teams have a close and storied history working together.”
Xbox chief Phil Spencer
With the new generation of Xbox going head-to-head with PlayStation 5 in November, competition between the two gaming consoles grows tighter.
Since the two Bethesda games, Deathloop and GhostWire: Tokyo, will only launch on the Sony PlayStation 5, these games will be restricted to Xbox users for some time. Spencer told Bloomberg in an interview that with Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda, future games will only come to non-Xbox platforms on a case-to-case basis.
“Gaming is the most expansive category in the entertainment industry, as people everywhere turn to gaming to connect, socialize, and play with their friends.”
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
With the ZeniMax, Microsoft’s creative studio teams will expand from 15 to 23. Nadella also said that in the future, Microsoft might release games on other non-Xbox platforms.
“When we think about strategy, whether it’s in gaming or any other part of Microsoft, each layer has to stand on its own for what it brings. When we talk about our content, we want our content to be broadly available.”
ZeniMax Operations Remain Independent
Following the acquisition, Xbox chief told CNBC that ZeniMax will continue independent operations and would be given no cuts.
“Our plan is to leave it alone. ZeniMax has an amazing track record of building great games. Our goal is to make ZeniMax the best ZeniMax they can be.”
Amid the coronavirus, gaming seems to be one of the few things where interest surged. A continuous increase in gaming demand took place since the start of lockdown, thus, increasing profits and revenues.
“The question of exclusivity now looms large. Microsoft has not opted for the exclusive route with its past acquisitions, but this may change given the scale of this acquisition.”
Omdia analyst George Jijiashvili
Because of this deal, Microsoft should expect a surge in users and an increase in its revenues.