Microsoft to buy ZeniMax for $7.5 billion, will gain control of The Elder Scrolls, Doom,...

Polycount

Posts: 2,557   +553
Staff member
A hot potato: Just when it seemed like Microsoft might be losing ground in the console war against competitor Sony, a stunning piece of news hit the web today. Microsoft is closing out a deal to purchase ZeniMax Media Inc., the parent company of several popular studios -- including Bethesda Softworks, of Elder Scrolls and Fallout fame -- for a whopping $7.5 billion.

It's difficult to fully comprehend the staggering impact and breadth of this deal without context, so we'll attempt to break things down a bit below.

First of all, as we said before, this acquisition will give Microsoft direct control over the famous Elder Scrolls and Fallout series -- two of the biggest and most popular franchises in gaming, with decades of combined history (and millions of fans) behind them.

Ideally, Microsoft's money will lead to better games, so perhaps the scope of titles like Starfield and The Elder Scrolls 6 can be expanded over the coming years.

This acquisition also means Bethesda will no longer be competing directly against Obsidian. From what we can tell, the studios will be making similar titles moving forward. Avowed is a great example of that: it was supposed to be Obsidian's big answer to Skyrim.

This might mean the teams will be able to share talent and expertise, once again leading to better games in the end (and perhaps even a direct successor to the fantastic Fallout: New Vegas).

Aside from Bethesda Game Studios, Microsoft's upcoming acquisition will give it Elder Scrolls Online, id Software (the team behind Doom and Quake), Arkane, Machine Games, Tango Gameworks, and more.

Microsoft's decision to snag ZeniMax was the perfect answer to the PlayStation 5's growing popularity. With a lack of particularly strong first-party exclusives, the Xbox Series X was arguably beginning to lose traction, but with this deal in the works, things could change quite a bit.

If future Bethesda games, such as Starfield or The Elder Scrolls 6, are indeed Xbox Series X exclusives, it will be a massive blow to Sony. After all, not everyone that plays those games has a PC, and potential exclusivity might just be enough to convince them to buy into Microsoft's ecosystem.

The real winners in this deal are PC gamers like us. Since Microsoft won't be selling any Xbox Series X-only exclusives (all of their games will be on both PC and console), we will continue to be able to play the biggest hits from ZeniMax's various subsidiaries; and likely for a low monthly fee, on day one, through services like Xbox Game Pass or XCloud.

Of course, it's reasonable to feel disappointed or concerned about this news. Microsoft having so much control over such a large segment of the gaming industry is definitely cause for alarm, and it's always sad to see a once-independent studio like Bethesda join one of the big guys.

However, if nothing else, we're interested to see how this news may impact the industry as a whole over the next few years. The acquisition should close sometime in the second half of FY 2021, so stay tuned for more details down the line.

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m4a4

Posts: 1,991   +1,829
TechSpot Elite
Not entirely sure how to feel about it. But it does seem like the pendulum is swinging in the right direction for Xbox currently (in terms of consumer friendliness).
I wouldn't bet on MS making any (near) future ZeniMax games Xbox/PC exclusive. And yeah, seeing the future games on PC/Game Pass is nice...
 

veLa

Posts: 1,009   +549
Out of all the possible options, Microsoft seems like a fairly safe place for them to go. I hope they don't ruin the Elder Scrolls.
 

Teko03

Posts: 619   +329
Not entirely sure how to feel about it. But it does seem like the pendulum is swinging in the right direction for Xbox currently (in terms of consumer friendliness).
I wouldn't bet on MS making any (near) future ZeniMax games Xbox/PC exclusive. And yeah, seeing the future games on PC/Game Pass is nice...
Microsoft's primary concern is getting games on GamePass moreso than turning popular gaming franchises into console exclusives. If you want to play Skyrim or Fallout on PS5...they're fine with it. But what the really want is for your to also play Skyrim or Fallout on GamePass Ultimate (xCloud) for $14.99 per month.
 
Wow I did not see this coming, but saying that I did hear a rumour last week or the week before that MS may buy another studio and here we are today. For me personally what I would like to see out of this acquisition is, can Bethesda Studios please for the love of God move away from using the Gamebryo engine they have been on that god awful engine for waayy over a decade.
It is buggy as hell. Get the whole studio to use ID engine, Havoc, UE4 or MS own engine. The amount of bugs we have had to put up with has been ridiculous
 

EdmondRC

Posts: 17   +11
This is an interesting development to say the least. I don't imagine that Fallout, Doom, or Elder Scrolls series will be pulled from PS, much like Minecraft is still on PS including Minecraft Dungeons. I don't think its MS's goal to directly compete with Sony and why, if they buy up enough studios they'll be getting plenty of royalties from games selling on PS.

What does make it interesting though is the value proposition of Gamepass. With EA Play and now possibly Bethesda games coming to Gamepass it is quickly becoming an impressive value proposition. I do not own an Xbox console, but I do have a PC and Gamepass on PC. I'm really excited about the future of Gamepass. I have already played Outerworlds, Gears 1RM, 4 & 5, Halo MCC, ReCore and a few other games that I probably would not have played otherwise. I can decide whether or not I like the game enough to make a purchase. The games also seem to be on there long enough to complete them. And MS games I assume are permanent. If Bethesda's game library and new games come to Gamepass, that is going to make the $9.99 subscription fee well worth it. I was considering getting rid of Gamepass with the hike to 9.99, but it looks like I'll be staying if all this happens.
 

Tantor

Posts: 64   +80
Looks like the shady Israeli oligarch Robert Altman decided to sell ZeniMax. A longtime Washington corporate lawyer, he co-created Zenimax with Christopher Weaver, the original brains behind Bethesda. Shortly thereafter he drove Weaver out. He's getting up there in age. Maybe this will allow Bethesda to finally develop Elder Scrolls 6. Altman is an interesting character. Among his many achievements was marriage to Lynda Carter, I.e., Wonder Woman.
 

poohbear

Posts: 496   +371
I suppose, but let's' remember that Microsoft has all the capabilities to totally screw up just about anything ...
How so? They've shifted and adapted to the cloud age by integrating everything with Windows 10 and their MS Office 365. For MS, Google is the real competition (Android and all the cloud services they offer...it has a $970 billion market cap vs MS' $1.5 trillion market cap). Sony is small potatoes ($95 billion market cap, it's 1/15th the size of MS) .
 
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Polycount

Posts: 2,557   +553
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  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #22
This is an interesting development to say the least. I don't imagine that Fallout, Doom, or Elder Scrolls series will be pulled from PS, much like Minecraft is still on PS including Minecraft Dungeons. I don't think its MS's goal to directly compete with Sony and why, if they buy up enough studios they'll be getting plenty of royalties from games selling on PS.

What does make it interesting though is the value proposition of Gamepass. With EA Play and now possibly Bethesda games coming to Gamepass it is quickly becoming an impressive value proposition. I do not own an Xbox console, but I do have a PC and Gamepass on PC. I'm really excited about the future of Gamepass. I have already played Outerworlds, Gears 1RM, 4 & 5, Halo MCC, ReCore and a few other games that I probably would not have played otherwise. I can decide whether or not I like the game enough to make a purchase. The games also seem to be on there long enough to complete them. And MS games I assume are permanent. If Bethesda's game library and new games come to Gamepass, that is going to make the $9.99 subscription fee well worth it. I was considering getting rid of Gamepass with the hike to 9.99, but it looks like I'll be staying if all this happens.
..Wow. Very well said. This is exactly how I feel, word for word.

The price hike deterred me and made me consider cancelling my 3-month subscription (I would normally cancel, but I've been enjoying the GS games so much that I've let it auto renew lately), but heck, if we get ES6, Avowed, Starfield, and other games, I'll just keep it.

For the record, I was initially very against this push for subscription services. I vastly prefer game ownership. But lately, I'm seeing it as a way to demo games and see if they're worth a buy -- and, if money is every tight, I know I can still finish some of the latest games without needing to pay $60 upfront.
 

DZillaXx

Posts: 91   +136
Atleast with MS you know the games are going to be playable across many devices. They all might not make it to a Sony Console, but you know they'll end up on PC/Xbox.

IMO this will probably be good for MS in the long run.
 

Polycount

Posts: 2,557   +553
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Very much like Windows, since It's been taken over by Nadella, right?
Microsoft does seem to take stable game launches more seriously than Bethesda. Their own software, now that's another story.