Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

Microsoft pays $7.5 billion for Bethesda and keeps ‘DOOM’

By knl9j Jun16,2024
News

Microsoft has announced its acquisition of Bethesda Softworks, the developer of numerous critically acclaimed and commercially successful video game series, including Wolfenstein, The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, and DOOM, among many others. With the acquisition of ZeniMax Media—the parent company of Bethesda—by Microsoft, a group of 2,300 employees from studios like id Software, ZeniMax Online Studios, Arkane, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog, and Roundhouse Studios joined Xbox Game Studios. These employees will continue to work independently.

By announcing a $7.5 billion cash acquisition of Zenimax Media, Microsoft has increased the market potential of its upcoming Xbox devices. This is Microsoft’s way of responding to claims that its console lacked strong enough original titles—the PS4’s most alluring selling point—and to the widespread belief that the company’s iconic franchises will only ever appear in future games for the house’s consoles, however little. Additionally, Zenimax possesses intellectual properties like ‘Dishonored,’ ‘Prey,’ and ‘Quake.’

Microsoft emphasizes in its press release that the paths of Xbox and Bethesda have always been intertwined, beginning with the original ‘DOOM’ (when it was still owned by the independent studio id) and its engine in a series closely tied to the development of the PC as a gaming machine, all the way to ‘The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind,’ which debuted exclusively on the first Xbox of Bethesda’s PlayStation titles. Possibly one of the services that will influence the video game business in the future, Microsoft also emphasizes Bethesda’s long-standing support for the concept of Game Pass.

Despite the lack of exclusivity discussion and action regarding Bethesda’s many published games, Xbox clearly intends to enhance its Game Pass catalog of exclusive content. For instance, in their announcement, Microsoft discusses upcoming Xbox and PC games from Bethesda (“some announced and others not”). One of these games is the space adventure ‘Starfield,’ which will be the first original intellectual property (IP) from the company in 25 years. The formats in which it will be released have not been revealed yet.

Microsoft has also been rather forthright about how it plans to use the additional creative capacity that comes with expanding its development studio count from 15 to 23 in order to stream Bethesda-created games directly to its Game Pass service the day they launch on Xbox or PC. The head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, said: “In the last ten days alone we have announced details of our two new consoles, which go on pre-order tomorrow, we have relaunched cloud gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and we are investing an of the most critical areas of our strategy: the games”

Microsoft, owner of the Xbox gaming console, has bought out the developer of the popular video games Wolfenstein, Fallout, Skyrim, and Doom. It acquired ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda, for $7.5 billion (£5.85 billion). As part of its Game Pass membership package, Xbox has announced that the publisher’s franchises would be available on consoles and PCs. Because of this, some gamers may find the next Xbox Series X more appealing than the PlayStation 5. The November launch date is set for both machines.

With Game Pass, users can access over 200 games. Those who subscribe to Microsoft’s “ultimate” plan get first-party games at launch without paying extra. Sony, on the other hand, will not be adding any new games to its PlayStation Plus Collection service and will instead charge customers up to £70 for its own big releases.

In light of the acquisition, it is unclear how Bethesda will proceed with their ambitions to develop unfinished games like Starfield, The Elder Scrolls 6, and others into cross-platform games. The two companies “shared similar visions for the opportunities for creators and their games to reach more players in more ways,” according to a statement by Xbox president Phil Spencer. Spokesperson for Bethesda Softworks, Pete Hynes, stated that the acquisition provided “access to resources that will make us a better publisher and developer”.

“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,” he stated on his website. The id Tech games engine, created by Bethesda’s sister company id Software, will now be owned by Microsoft alongside the game titles.

The latest iteration of id Tech was utilized in the development of this year’s critically acclaimed Doom Eternal.
“A major coup” was the way Ampere Analysis’s research director Piers Harding-Rolls put it. Some have said that, in comparison to Sony and Nintendo, Microsoft doesn’t have enough successful first-party game franchises. He informed the BBC that this transaction significantly strengthens Microsoft’s games portfolio.
John Carmack, a legendary game developer who helped build the foundational technologies for titles like Doom, Wolfenstein, and Quake, has hinted that he might return to work on some of those brands as a result of the acquisition.

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