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Microsoft will acquire Bethesda in blockbuster $7.5 billion deal

Microsoft has agreed to acquire video game giant Bethesda for a whopping $7.5 billion, securing the rights to huge franchises like Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Dishonored, and Doom.

The acquisition of ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda, includes all studios that operate under the publisher, including id Software and Arkane Studios.

Microsoft announced the acquisition in a blog post, which says that Bethesda’s franchises will come to Xbox Game Pass as part of the deal. Microsoft plans to bring future titles to both the console and PC versions of Game Pass on launch days.

“Like us, Bethesda are passionate believers in building a diverse array of creative experiences, in exploring new game franchises, and in telling stories in bold ways,” Microsoft’s Head of Xbox Phil Spencer wrote. “All of their great work will of course continue and grow, and we look forward to empowering them with the resources and support of Microsoft to scale their creative visions to more players in new ways for you.”

Microsoft paid $7.5 billion for ZeniMax Media, which makes this the priciest acquisition in U.S. video game history. Microsoft is no stranger to expensive deals like this — it previously paid $2.5 billion to acquire Minecraft developer Mojang. The deal grows Microsoft’s portfolio of creative studios from 15 to 23.

Bethesda Game Studios Director Todd Howard says the two companies share a vision of gaming’s future, citing Microsoft’s plans to make games accessible.

“We share a deep belief in the fundamental power of games, in their ability to connect, empower, and bring joy. And a belief we should bring that to everyone — regardless of who you are, where you live, or what you play on. Regardless of the screen size, the controller, or your ability to even use one.”

It’s currently unclear if Bethesda’s future games will be exclusive to the Xbox family of consoles.

Arkane Studios’ Deathloop was recently featured in Sony’s PlayStation 5 release date reveal stream and was set to be a timed exclusive for the console. Meanwhile, a Switch port of id Software’s Doom Eternal is still in the works. Just last week at a digital PAX event, producer Marty Stratton said the game was “very close” to a release.

Digital Trends reached out to Microsoft and Bethesda for comment and will update this story when we hear back.

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