Microsoft Buying ZeniMax

Microsoft announces they are acquiring ZeniMax Media, parent company of Bethesda Softworks for $7.5 billion in cash. This will make Microsoft owner of Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, ZeniMax Online Studios, Arkane, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog, and Roundhouse Studios. The deal is subject to regulatory approval, and is expected to be conclude by the end of fiscal 2021. As noted in a tweet by Bloomberg's Jason Schreier, this means Xbox owner Microsoft is now actually publishing two games as PlayStation 5 exclusives. There's more on the deal in a post on Xbox Wire by Xbox boss Phil Spencer. Here's the announcement:
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 (Nasdaq: MSFT) on Monday announced plans to acquire ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks, one of the largest, privately held game developers and publishers in the world. Creators of critically acclaimed and best-selling gaming franchises including The Elder Scrolls and Fallout among many others, Bethesda brings an impressive portfolio of games, technology, talent, as well as a track record of blockbuster commercial success, to Xbox. Under the terms of the agreement, Microsoft will acquire ZeniMax Media for $7.5 billion in cash.

With unique investments in content, community, and the cloud, Microsoft's gaming strategy differs from others by empowering people to play the games they want, with the people they want, anywhere they want. Games are the primary growth engine in gaming, and games are fueling new cloud-gaming services like Xbox Game Pass, which has reached a new milestone of over 15 million subscribers. With the addition of Bethesda, Microsoft will grow from 15 to 23 creative studio teams and will be adding Bethesda's iconic franchises to Xbox Game Pass. This includes Microsoft's intent to bring Bethesda's future games into Xbox Game Pass the same day they launch on Xbox or PC, like Starfield, the highly anticipated, new space epic currently in development by Bethesda Game Studios.

"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."

"This is an awesome time to be an Xbox fan. In the last 10 days alone, we've released details on our two new consoles which go on pre-order tomorrow, launched cloud gaming in Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, and now we're making another investment in the most critical part of our strategy: the games," said Phil Spencer, executive vice president, Gaming at Microsoft. "Generations of gamers have been captivated by the renowned franchises in the Bethesda portfolio and will continue to be so for years to come as part of Xbox."

The planned acquisition includes publishing offices and development studios spanning the globe with over 2,300 employees, including Bethesda Softworks, Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, ZeniMax Online Studios, Arkane, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog, and Roundhouse Studios. Bethesda's critically acclaimed and best-selling franchises include The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, DOOM, Quake, Wolfenstein, and Dishonored, among others.

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.

"This is a thrilling day for this company, our employees, and our fans. We have enjoyed a close partnership with Microsoft for decades, and this deal is a natural progression of those years working together," said Altman. "The big winners today are our fans. We are continuing to develop our slate of AAA games, but now with Microsoft's scale and entire Game Stack, our games can only get better."

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and completion of regulatory review. Microsoft expects the acquisition to close in the second half of fiscal year 2021 and to have minimal impact to non-GAAP operating income in fiscal years 2021 and 2022. Non-GAAP excludes the expected impact of purchase accounting adjustments, as well as integration and transaction-related expenses.
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95 Replies. 5 pages. Viewing page 2.
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75.
 
Re: Microsoft Buying ZeniMax
Sep 21, 2020, 19:17
75.
Re: Microsoft Buying ZeniMax Sep 21, 2020, 19:17
Sep 21, 2020, 19:17
 
HorrorScope wrote on Sep 21, 2020, 18:34:
jdreyer wrote on Sep 21, 2020, 14:16:
Going forward, all Bethesda/Zenimax games are XBox exclusives in order to drive people to that platform. They'll come out for PC two years after their XBox debut, if ever.

Where is this coming from? Bethesda's games already have crappy UI's made for consoles, easily some of the worst k/m interfaces, skyui helps a ton, but still dressing up a pig. It can't get worse.

Not a design decision. It's a business decision to push adoption of their platform through console exclusivity.
To prevent CV-19, avoid the Serious Seven: weddings, funerals, faith-based activities, bars, gyms, house gatherings and other small events.
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74.
 
Re: Microsoft Buying ZeniMax
Sep 21, 2020, 19:00
74.
Re: Microsoft Buying ZeniMax Sep 21, 2020, 19:00
Sep 21, 2020, 19:00
 
DarkCntry wrote on Sep 21, 2020, 18:45:
inXile games are on GOG, aren't they?

No mention of Microsoft as a publisher on those games so I have to assume a deal was done with GOG before Microsoft bought inXile (maybe even including all the way up through Wasteland 3... some long contract with GOG... I mean wasteland 2 started out as a kickstarter and was promised to be on GOG... so maybe they had some ongoing contract). Given Microsoft's stance on DRM... I don't foresee them supporting a DRM-Free store front.

I guess we'll just have to see what pans out.
Get your games from GOG DAMMIT!
Avatar 19499
73.
 
Re: Microsoft Buying ZeniMax
Sep 21, 2020, 18:58
73.
Re: Microsoft Buying ZeniMax Sep 21, 2020, 18:58
Sep 21, 2020, 18:58
 
Seems like a good competitive move to me. More xbox/pc exclusives, some pretty good IPs, and access to a pool of talent. They’ll just have to clean out Bethesda upper management and restructure so that ES 6 becomes the game that gamers want and not some cash grab bs
Deja Moo: The feeling that you've heard this bull before.
Avatar 12787
72.
 
Re: Microsoft Buying ZeniMax
Sep 21, 2020, 18:45
72.
Re: Microsoft Buying ZeniMax Sep 21, 2020, 18:45
Sep 21, 2020, 18:45
 
wtf_man wrote on Sep 21, 2020, 18:26:
Spektr wrote on Sep 21, 2020, 18:16:
I have a bad feeling about this...

This doesn't bode well at all for Id games running on OpenGL/Vulkan. And I guess id software games on Linux belonged to another era.
In fact it doesn't bode well for pretty much anything I can think of.
Is MS trying to become the Disney of video games?
Did I mention that this doesn't bode well?

It also doesn't bode well for any more Zenimax / Bethesda / iD games going to GOG.
There are zero Microsoft published games on GOG.

inXile games are on GOG, aren't they?

Honestly, I'm ok with this. What I read from this is MS is attempting to further flesh out value for Gamepass for both console and PC users and to bolster a more tertiary first-party stable of games that doesn't require them to be solely developing them.
Avatar 24330
71.
 
Re: Microsoft Buying ZeniMax
Sep 21, 2020, 18:43
71.
Re: Microsoft Buying ZeniMax Sep 21, 2020, 18:43
Sep 21, 2020, 18:43
 
Bob wrote on Sep 21, 2020, 12:14:
John Carmack seems quite happy about it.


It may allow him to work on the open source id games like doom and quake (for Quest VR). He mentioned in one of his VR hallway Q&As that he couldn't because Zenimax still hated him.

Carmack tweet:
"Great! I think Microsoft has been a good parent company for gaming IPs, and they don't have a grudge against me, so maybe I will be able to re engage with some of my old titles."

Damn, I was just about to post, at least they kick carmack in the balls before they got sold. Backstab
The worst criminal in human history, undeniably. There has never been a figure in political history, so dedicated to destroying the prospects of organized human life on the planet, in the near future.

Beating and Gassing Americans for Jesus!
Avatar 1858
70.
 
Re: Microsoft Buying ZeniMax
Sep 21, 2020, 18:34
70.
Re: Microsoft Buying ZeniMax Sep 21, 2020, 18:34
Sep 21, 2020, 18:34
 
jdreyer wrote on Sep 21, 2020, 14:16:
Going forward, all Bethesda/Zenimax games are XBox exclusives in order to drive people to that platform. They'll come out for PC two years after their XBox debut, if ever.

Where is this coming from? Bethesda's games already have crappy UI's made for consoles, easily some of the worst k/m interfaces, skyui helps a ton, but still dressing up a pig. It can't get worse.
Avatar 17232
69.
 
Re: Microsoft Buying ZeniMax
Sep 21, 2020, 18:31
69.
Re: Microsoft Buying ZeniMax Sep 21, 2020, 18:31
Sep 21, 2020, 18:31
 
RedEye9 wrote on Sep 21, 2020, 14:12:
Bumpy wrote on Sep 21, 2020, 13:24:
I'm not thrilled.

I see many great future games now being folder and file encrypted, locked down and stuck available only in the MS Store.
Not to mention un-Moddable.

There are games that are moddable under the store for example State of Decay 2, have ran several mods with it.

They've also mentioned that is a focus as well, so that's happening.

Now here's one of the ZENIMAX bad things, they were the one's making Bethesda charge for mods, locking things down, that was from the top. MS I'm confident won't be near as heavy handed, I think it's a win there.

And then the best we know their games are still coming to Steam, so again moddable.
Avatar 17232
68.
 
Re: Microsoft Buying ZeniMax
Sep 21, 2020, 18:26
68.
Re: Microsoft Buying ZeniMax Sep 21, 2020, 18:26
Sep 21, 2020, 18:26
 
Spektr wrote on Sep 21, 2020, 18:16:
I have a bad feeling about this...

This doesn't bode well at all for Id games running on OpenGL/Vulkan. And I guess id software games on Linux belonged to another era.
In fact it doesn't bode well for pretty much anything I can think of.
Is MS trying to become the Disney of video games?
Did I mention that this doesn't bode well?

It also doesn't bode well for any more Zenimax / Bethesda / iD games going to GOG.
There are zero Microsoft published games on GOG.
Get your games from GOG DAMMIT!
Avatar 19499
67.
 
Re: Microsoft Buying ZeniMax
Sep 21, 2020, 18:17
Kxmode
 
67.
Re: Microsoft Buying ZeniMax Sep 21, 2020, 18:17
Sep 21, 2020, 18:17
 Kxmode
 
jdreyer wrote on Sep 21, 2020, 18:06:
Kxmode wrote on Sep 21, 2020, 17:15:
Dev wrote on Sep 21, 2020, 16:58:
Kxmode wrote on Sep 21, 2020, 16:32:
Xbox head Phil Spencer on the $7.5 billion deal to buy Bethesda parent ZeniMax

Host: "Are you making cuts to this company as you acquire it or are you going to leave it alone?"
Spencer: "Our plan is to leave it alone."

They're going to make cuts. Any time a company makes such a statement so rapidly means it was rehearsed in the boardroom to deflect attention away from the apparent truth that the history of every large merger has always seen cuts happen. It's a lie to say, "we plan to leave it alone." A plan is meaningless if on hour one of day one they toss the plan out the window.
Or it's the new standard MS attitude towards studios they've been buying recently, hands off if they keep producing. I'm going to go with optimism in my case and hope you are wrong! If I'm mistaken, you can say you told me so.

Don't conflate autonomy with cuts. I'm not talking about their hand's off approach. I'm referring to the Spencer's quick "we plan to leave it alone" answer regarding Bethesda staff count reduction. A merger as big as this is going to see cuts, and even more so during COVID-19. I'm estimating between 5 and 10% total staff across all studios (including ZaniMax proper).

Cuts after mergers usually occur to reduce redundancy: billing, HR, etc.

Precisely. Spencer should have come out with a direct answer, "there will likely be staffing reductions as we anticipate redundancies in certain areas" or "we will evaluate that once we know more." Going the "we plan to leave it alone" route as the default to a question about merger "cuts" is dishonest and feigns ignorance or is willfully negligent. It's dishonest with shareholders and Bethesda staff. It also reveals that you cannot trust anything Spencer says.

This comment was edited on Sep 21, 2020, 18:28.
"Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. And, weak men create hard times." - Those Who Remain by G. Michael Hopf
Avatar 18786
66.
 
Re: Microsoft Buying ZeniMax
Sep 21, 2020, 18:16
66.
Re: Microsoft Buying ZeniMax Sep 21, 2020, 18:16
Sep 21, 2020, 18:16
 
I have a bad feeling about this...

This doesn't bode well at all for Id games running on OpenGL/Vulkan. And I guess id software games on Linux belonged to another era.
In fact it doesn't bode well for pretty much anything I can think of.
Is MS trying to become the Disney of video games?
Did I mention that this doesn't bode well?
65.
 
Re: Microsoft Buying ZeniMax
Sep 21, 2020, 18:06
65.
Re: Microsoft Buying ZeniMax Sep 21, 2020, 18:06
Sep 21, 2020, 18:06
 
Kxmode wrote on Sep 21, 2020, 17:15:
Dev wrote on Sep 21, 2020, 16:58:
Kxmode wrote on Sep 21, 2020, 16:32:
Xbox head Phil Spencer on the $7.5 billion deal to buy Bethesda parent ZeniMax

Host: "Are you making cuts to this company as you acquire it or are you going to leave it alone?"
Spencer: "Our plan is to leave it alone."

They're going to make cuts. Any time a company makes such a statement so rapidly means it was rehearsed in the boardroom to deflect attention away from the apparent truth that the history of every large merger has always seen cuts happen. It's a lie to say, "we plan to leave it alone." A plan is meaningless if on hour one of day one they toss the plan out the window.
Or it's the new standard MS attitude towards studios they've been buying recently, hands off if they keep producing. I'm going to go with optimism in my case and hope you are wrong! If I'm mistaken, you can say you told me so.

Don't conflate autonomy with cuts. I'm not talking about their hand's off approach. I'm referring to the Spencer's quick "we plan to leave it alone" answer regarding Bethesda staff count reduction. A merger as big as this is going to see cuts, and even more so during COVID-19. I'm estimating between 5 and 10% total staff across all studios (including ZaniMax proper).

Cuts after mergers usually occur to reduce redundancy: billing, HR, etc.
To prevent CV-19, avoid the Serious Seven: weddings, funerals, faith-based activities, bars, gyms, house gatherings and other small events.
Avatar 22024
64.
 
Re: Microsoft Buying ZeniMax
Sep 21, 2020, 18:00
64.
Re: Microsoft Buying ZeniMax Sep 21, 2020, 18:00
Sep 21, 2020, 18:00
 
FUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
Avatar 57294
63.
 
Re: Microsoft Buying ZeniMax
Sep 21, 2020, 17:28
63.
Re: Microsoft Buying ZeniMax Sep 21, 2020, 17:28
Sep 21, 2020, 17:28
 
I smell UWP version 2 coming down the road. This time it may just catch on.
Crap...
Avatar 58853
62.
 
Re: Microsoft Buying ZeniMax
Sep 21, 2020, 17:18
62.
Re: Microsoft Buying ZeniMax Sep 21, 2020, 17:18
Sep 21, 2020, 17:18
 
I don't know if there's doom and gloom warranted for PC. I think this move is more to fight Playstation. Xbox's exclusives are somewhat lacking. If they beef up available games via gamepass then they get a step up on PS. I feel like many publishers realize now that there is a console crowd and a PC crowd and (except for the people who have both) you can't force PC people or console players into the other camp with exclusives. This is more about fighting for turf inside of their xbox space.

OTOH, _IF_ they want to take on steam they have a long road ahead of them. Epic, GoG have a hard enough time and both of them do much better than the windows app store in all sorts of ways. Although, I will say the xbox and beta xbox app for windows is passable. Not great but passable and gamepass really is a great deal.

Gamepass, in actuality, is probably a bigger threat to steam and app stores than anything else because it's really pretty cheap on the whole of it if you play a lot of games.

61.
 
Re: Microsoft Buying ZeniMax
Sep 21, 2020, 17:15
Kxmode
 
61.
Re: Microsoft Buying ZeniMax Sep 21, 2020, 17:15
Sep 21, 2020, 17:15
 Kxmode
 
Dev wrote on Sep 21, 2020, 16:58:
Kxmode wrote on Sep 21, 2020, 16:32:
Xbox head Phil Spencer on the $7.5 billion deal to buy Bethesda parent ZeniMax

Host: "Are you making cuts to this company as you acquire it or are you going to leave it alone?"
Spencer: "Our plan is to leave it alone."

They're going to make cuts. Any time a company makes such a statement so rapidly means it was rehearsed in the boardroom to deflect attention away from the apparent truth that the history of every large merger has always seen cuts happen. It's a lie to say, "we plan to leave it alone." A plan is meaningless if on hour one of day one they toss the plan out the window.
Or it's the new standard MS attitude towards studios they've been buying recently, hands off if they keep producing. I'm going to go with optimism in my case and hope you are wrong! If I'm mistaken, you can say you told me so.

Don't conflate autonomy with cuts. I'm not talking about their hand's off approach. I'm referring to the Spencer's quick "we plan to leave it alone" answer regarding Bethesda staff count reduction. A merger as big as this is going to see cuts, and even more so during COVID-19. I'm estimating between 5 and 10% total staff across all studios (including ZaniMax proper).
"Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. And, weak men create hard times." - Those Who Remain by G. Michael Hopf
Avatar 18786
60.
 
Re: Microsoft Buying ZeniMax
Sep 21, 2020, 17:15
60.
Re: Microsoft Buying ZeniMax Sep 21, 2020, 17:15
Sep 21, 2020, 17:15
 
This might be good news. Since MS owns Obsidian and inXile, and now they own Fallout, there may be hope that future Fallout games won't suck.
"The only way anyone can live in peace is if they're prepared to forgive." - The Doctor
Avatar 17277
59.
 
Re: Microsoft Buying ZeniMax
Sep 21, 2020, 17:01
59.
Re: Microsoft Buying ZeniMax Sep 21, 2020, 17:01
Sep 21, 2020, 17:01
 
jdreyer wrote on Sep 21, 2020, 15:48:
aka_STEVE wrote on Sep 21, 2020, 15:33:
Oh I forgot to also mention,.........

R.I.P. Elder Scrolls = now dumbed down to run at the lowest console denominator .

I think TES has been on console since Oblivion.

Morrowind. Came out on XBox right after the Window release.

Avatar 36713
58.
 
Re: Microsoft Buying ZeniMax
Sep 21, 2020, 16:58
Dev
 
58.
Re: Microsoft Buying ZeniMax Sep 21, 2020, 16:58
Sep 21, 2020, 16:58
 Dev
 
Kxmode wrote on Sep 21, 2020, 16:32:
Xbox head Phil Spencer on the $7.5 billion deal to buy Bethesda parent ZeniMax

Host: "Are you making cuts to this company as you acquire it or are you going to leave it alone?"
Spencer: "Our plan is to leave it alone."

They're going to make cuts. Any time a company makes such a statement so rapidly means it was rehearsed in the boardroom to deflect attention away from the apparent truth that the history of every large merger has always seen cuts happen. It's a lie to say, "we plan to leave it alone." A plan is meaningless if on hour one of day one they toss the plan out the window.
Or it's the new standard MS attitude towards studios they've been buying recently, hands off if they keep producing. I'm going to go with optimism in my case and hope you are wrong! If I'm mistaken, you can say you told me so.
57.
 
Re: Microsoft Buying ZeniMax
Sep 21, 2020, 16:32
Kxmode
 
57.
Re: Microsoft Buying ZeniMax Sep 21, 2020, 16:32
Sep 21, 2020, 16:32
 Kxmode
 
Xbox head Phil Spencer on the $7.5 billion deal to buy Bethesda parent ZeniMax

Host: "Are you making cuts to this company as you acquire it or are you going to leave it alone?"
Spencer: "Our plan is to leave it alone."

They're going to make cuts. Any time a company makes such a statement so rapidly means it was rehearsed in the boardroom to deflect attention away from the apparent truth that the history of every large merger has always seen cuts happen. It's a lie to say, "we plan to leave it alone." A plan is meaningless if on hour one of day one they toss the plan out the window.
"Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. And, weak men create hard times." - Those Who Remain by G. Michael Hopf
Avatar 18786
56.
 
Re: Microsoft Buying ZeniMax
Sep 21, 2020, 15:52
Dev
 
56.
Re: Microsoft Buying ZeniMax Sep 21, 2020, 15:52
Sep 21, 2020, 15:52
 Dev
 
jdreyer wrote on Sep 21, 2020, 15:48:
aka_STEVE wrote on Sep 21, 2020, 15:33:
Oh I forgot to also mention,.........

R.I.P. Elder Scrolls = now dumbed down to run at the lowest console denominator .

I think TES has been on console since Oblivion.
Yeah that argument has been around since oblivion and the first non isometric fallouts, and the ACTUAL first time they were on consoles. Bethesda has already been milking consoles for a long long time.
I mean I get that argument (and some things like the inventory UI are REAL obvious it's because consoles), but those days for those series are not coming back.
Though there are lots of indies now that offer similar top down formats.

Edit: Morrowind had a console release, but was released after PC. I think that was probably more of a "ported to xbox" title, rather than ground up designed for it like the future ones.

This comment was edited on Sep 21, 2020, 16:05.
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