Microsoft doubles down on gaming with $7.5 billion acquisition of Bethesda, maker of hit Fallout and The Elder Scrolls games
Think about this for a moment, more than three billion people on the planet play games for fun, escape, and human connection. Unlike any other medium, games empower people to engage in creativity, strategic thinking, and teamwork, immersing them into interactive stories and worlds created by some of the world’s most amazing creators.
The cultural phenomenon of gaming has made it the largest and fastest-growing form of entertainment in the world—an industry that is expected to be more than $200 billion in annual revenue in 2021. As the gaming industry transforms from a device-centric era to a player-centric era powered by new technology that provides the freedom to play with friends anywhere on any device, Microsoft is expanding its footprint in the gaming world.
Today, Microsoft said it will buy ZeniMax Media, the company that owns well-known video game publisher Bethesda, for $7.5 billion in cash. It’s the biggest gaming acquisition in Microsoft’s history. The company bought Mojang, the studio behind popular title Minecraft, for $2.5 billion in late 2014. That proved to be a boon to the firm as Minecraft continued to surge in popularity, rapidly becoming the world’s best-selling game with over 200 million copies sold to date.
The acquisition of Bethesda gives Microsoft access to a raft of successful game franchises, including the role-playing game series Fallout and The Elder Scrolls and the Doom shooter franchise.
“Gaming is the most expansive category in the entertainment industry, as people everywhere turn to gaming to connect, socialize and play with their friends,” said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. “Quality differentiated content is the engine behind the growth and value of Xbox Game Pass—from Minecraft to Flight Simulator. As a proven game developer and publisher, Bethesda has seen success across every category of games, and together, we will further our ambition to empower the more than three billion gamers worldwide.”
Bethesda parent company ZeniMax Media was founded in 1999 by Chairman and CEO Robert A. Altman; Bethesda’s structure and leadership will remain in place.