Notice: To display this embed please allow the use of Functional Cookies in Cookie Preferences.
Employing some 2,300 staff worldwide, Bethesda Softworks studios include Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, ZeniMax Online Studios, Arkane, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog, and Roundhouse Studios.
They are the development teams responsible for franchises including The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Wolfenstein, Doom, Dishonored, Prey and Quake, among others.
The move will see Xbox Game Studios grow from 15 to 23 development teams, while Bethesda’s franchises will be added to Xbox Game Pass, which has reached a new milestone of 15 million subscribers, according to Microsoft.
Id Software co-founder John Carmack welcomed the news and suggested it could see him once again work with the studio he co-founded.
Xbox boss Phil Spencer said he will honour PS5 exclusivity agreements for Deathloop (Arkane Studios) and Ghostwire: Tokyo (Tango Gameworks), while Zenimax Online has claimed that The Elder Scrolls Online will continue to be supported “exactly as it was” on current platforms.
Xbox boss Phil Spencer said in a blog post: “Over the years I’ve had many deep conversations with the creative leaders at Bethesda on the future of gaming and we’ve long shared similar visions for the opportunities for creators and their games to reach more players in more ways.
“One of the things that has me most excited is seeing the roadmap with Bethesda’s future games, some announced and many unannounced, to Xbox console and PC including Starfield, the highly anticipated, new space epic currently in development by Bethesda Game Studios.
“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. 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.”
Bethesda Game Studios’ Todd Howard, who oversees development of the Fallout and Elder Scrolls series, also discussed the acquisition in a separate blog post. In it, he called Microsoft Bethesda’s “longest, and closest partner” during his career.
He added: “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.
“We can’t think of a better group of people to do that with than those at Xbox.”
Microsoft expects to complete the acquisition in the second half of its current business year ending in June 2021.
Its CEO Satya Nadella said: “Gaming is the most expansive category in the entertainment industry, as people everywhere turn to gaming to connect, socialize and play with their friends.
“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.”