Home » PC Tech & Gaming News » Microsoft have acquired Bethesda Parent Group Zenimax for $7.5 billion

Microsoft have acquired Bethesda Parent Group Zenimax for $7.5 billion

Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Doom, Quake, Wolfenstein and now part of the Xbox group

WePC is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Prices subject to change. Learn more

Last Updated:

Well, this certainly is a bombshell. Microsoft has today announced that they are acquiring the game publisher Bethesda. Bethesda comprises eight distinct games studios, including Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, Arkane, and MachineGames. Included in this sale is intellectual property including The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Doom, Quake, Wolfenstein, Dishonored, Prey, The Evil Within, and more. With 2,300 staff worldwide, Bethesda is a powerhouse in game development, with success in a wide variety of genres, across numerous regions.

In the past, we might have had to worry that this could perhaps mean that these beloved game series could be Xbox only going forward, and whilst that is not entirely out of the realm of possibility in the far future, at present Microsoft have fully committed to releasing all their first-party games on Xbox and PC.

Not only will future Bethesda games release on both Xbox and PC, but as per this new announcement from Microsoft, all future Bethesda games will hit their Game Pass subscription service on day one, as well as making the back catalog of Bethesda games available there too.

Xbox Game Pass 3 Month subscription
Xbox Game Pass 6 Month subscription
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate 1 Month subscription
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate 3 Month subscription

Interestingly, we don’t for sure know whether this means that Bethesda games will no longer be available on PlayStation. Somewhat ironically in retrospect, Ghostwire: Tokyo from Tango Gameworks, and Deathloop from Arkane, have both cut deals with Sony to launch as PlayStation 5 exclusives, in negotiations that predate this acquisition. Microsoft has confirmed that these existing exclusive titles will still launch as PlayStation 5 exclusives, but will presumably still find their way to Game Pass for both Xbox and PC once that previously agreed exclusivity window has expired.

Beyond that, looking toward Bethesda’s future releases, there are several hotly anticipated games on the horizon, like their upcoming Sci-Fi RPG Starfield, and their new entries in the Elder Scrolls and Fallout series.

Interestingly, Microsoft has not ruled out releasing future Bethesda games on other platforms, and confirmed that their games will potentially come to systems like PlayStation 5 and Nintendo Switch, but only on “a case by case basis”. What factors play into the decision over which titles go multi-console is a mystery, which is perhaps going to be somewhat of a cloud hanging over the PS5 going forward.

There are few publishers the size of Bethesda, and with such a strong appeal to core gamers, and such a rich library of game series under their belt. This is a real power move from Microsoft and shows that they are examining a variety of different strategies to secure success for both their console business and perhaps more significantly their Game Pass subscription service. There are plenty of players who will go out of their way to play every new Elder Scrolls game or every new Fallout game, and no doubt these are the players that Microsoft is hoping to court.

One interesting take on this news we saw was from John Carmack, formerly of id Software, suggesting he would be open to the possibility of some kind of collaboration with id now that it’s under Microsoft’s umbrella:


Lewie Procter

Lewie skews Chaotic Good where possible, and loves pressing buttons, viewing pixels and listening to sounds. He's written for publications like Rock Paper Shotgun, Eurogamer, VG247 and Kotaku UK, and spent 13 years running Savy Gamer. If you ever get the chance you should ask him to tell you the story about that time he had a fight with a snake on an island off the coast of Cambodia.