Microsoft Now Officially Owns Bethesda In $7.5 Billion Purchase

Microsoft's blockbuster deal to acquire ZeniMax and Bethesda is officially complete--here's what we know.

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After getting approved by regulators, Microsoft's $7.5 billion deal to acquire ZeniMax and its subsidiaries such as Bethesda has officially gone through. One of the biggest gaming deals in history is now complete, and it sets the stage for big things for Xbox going forward. We're already learning a little bit more about what it means, including that Bethesda will release "some" games that are exclusive to Xbox and PC. [Update: Microsoft has officially announced a roundtable video with Bethesda to discuss the deal and more. As rumored, the event is held today, March 11, starting at 10 AM PT]

In a statement, Bethesda's Pete Hines said you should not expect any "landmark announcement or changes right now." Today's announcement is about the deal getting officially approved; the specifics on what this means for Bethesda's future comes later.

Hines did say that Bethesda expects that its studios will be able to continue to operate independently, but now with extra support and resources from Microsoft. Hines also teased that Bethesda will bring more of its games to the Game Pass catalog in the future.

"As we'e all shared, the expectation is that Bethesda Softworks and our studios will continue as we have in the past, just with more support and resources than we've ever had before," he said. "Obviously, Game Pass has been an important initiative for Xbox, and we'll be working on putting even more of our games into Game Pass than ever before. Beyond that? Stay tuned, we’re just getting started together."

Xbox boss Phil Spencer released a statement as well in which he confirmed more Bethesda games are coming to Game Pass this week, though he did not name them outright.

Spencer also said it is "vitally important" for Bethesda to continue to make games "the way it always has," which suggests Microsoft is not going to try to mix things up too much.

"We look forward to empowering Bethesda's creative teams to reach even more players around the world, helping make future Bethesda titles the biggest and most popular games in their history" he said. "Xbox and Bethesda have long shared a common vision for the future of gaming. Both as fans and as creators, Bethesda understands the potential of Xbox Game Pass."

With the buyout, Microsoft now owns a number of additional studios, including Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, ZeniMax Online Studios, Arkane, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog, and Roundhouse Studios.

"Now that everything is official, we can begin working together to deliver more great games to everyone," Spencer said. "At every step building toward this moment, I've been inspired and motivated by the creativity, insight, and community-first approach of the talented people at Bethesda. Our goal is to give these teams the best foundation for doing their greatest work and to learn from them as we continue to build Xbox into an inclusive platform for all players."

You can read the full statements from Pete Hines and Phil Spencer below.

A big unknown continues to be exclusivity questions that fans have about Bethesda's future games. People want to do know if high-profile upcoming Bethesda games like The Elder Scrolls VI, Indiana Jones, and Starfield will come to PlayStation consoles.

Spencer said in his statement that Microsoft will of course prioritize Xbox and PC over rival platforms, and he teased that "some new titles" will be exclusive to Xbox and PC.

"With the addition of the Bethesda creative teams, gamers should know that Xbox consoles, PC, and Game Pass will be the best place to experience new Bethesda games, including some new titles in the future that will be exclusive to Xbox and PC players," he said.

Spencer did not, however, provide any further details on what these exclusive games might be. We do know that one of Bethesda's games, Deathloop, will still release on PlayStation as a timed exclusive.

Pete Hines Full Statement

"First, let me say that we're not making any landmark announcements or changes right now. As we've all shared, the expectation is that Bethesda Softworks and our studios will continue as we have in the past, just with more support and resources than we’ve ever had before. Obviously, Game Pass has been an important initiative for Xbox, and we'll be working on putting even more of our games into Game Pass than ever before. Beyond that? Stay tuned, we're just getting started together.

Second, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that it is a bittersweet day given that our founder, Robert Altman, passed away last month. Among his many admirable qualities was the incredible spirit of family and loyalty that he shared with all of us. I will be forever grateful for his efforts to find the perfect place for ZeniMax, Bethesda, and our studios and employees to continue their excellent work going forward.I’d also like to thank Phil Spencer and all the folks at Xbox and Microsoft who have been such a pleasure to work with as we prepare for this new chapter. The collaboration, mutual respect, and support they’ve shown to us during this process has been extraordinary.

I'm pleased to continue the great relationships we've built together over the past few decades, first as partners and now as colleagues in the same company. And of course, I want to say thanks to all of you for your support. It is not something we ever take lightly or for granted. This year marks 35 years since the original creation of Bethesda Softworks. Reaching a milestone like that, while also going through a historic occasion like this acquisition, puts in perspective just how far we've come in that time. A journey that wouldn't be worth it without all of you to share it with."

Phil Spencer Full Statement

This is an exciting day for Xbox. Today we officially complete the acquisition of ZeniMax Media, parent company of Bethesda Softworks. It's an honor to welcome the eight incredibly talented development studios – Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, ZeniMax Online Studios, Arkane, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog, and Roundhouse Studios--and their passionate global communities to the Xbox family. Now that everything is official, we can begin working together to deliver more great games to everyone. At every step building toward this moment, I’ve been inspired and motivated by the creativity, insight, and community-first approach of the talented people at Bethesda. Our goal is to give these teams the best foundation for doing their greatest work and to learn from them as we continue to build Xbox into an inclusive platform for all players.

This is the next step in building an industry-leading first party studios team, a commitment we have to our Xbox community. With the addition of the Bethesda creative teams, gamers should know that Xbox consoles, PC, and Game Pass will be the best place to experience new Bethesda games, including some new titles in the future that will be exclusive to Xbox and PC players.

As we shared previously, it's vitally important that Bethesda continues making games the way it always has. We look forward to empowering Bethesda’s creative teams to reach even more players around the world, helping make future Bethesda titles the biggest and most popular games in their history. Xbox and Bethesda have long shared a common vision for the future of gaming. Both as fans and as creators, Bethesda understands the potential of Xbox Game Pass.

We would also like to honor the life and memory of my close friend Robert A. Altman, founder of ZeniMax Media. Robert believed deeply in the power of gaming and we are privileged to be able to continue his work by joining forces with the teams he built and led for many years. I will miss the opportunity to work directly with him on the future of our combined teams but I know that his spirit will live on in the shared work we do and motivate us to make this partnership all he envisioned.

Thank you to all our players for joining us on this incredible journey and to the millions of Bethesda fans around the world. Now that we’re one team, we can start working together on the future ahead. We will have more to share about what's next for our teams later this year. In the meantime, to properly celebrate this special moment, we are bringing additional Bethesda games into Xbox Game Pass later this week. Stay tuned for more details!"

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