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Microsoft acquires ZeniMax Media, 'Fallout' publisher Bethesda Softworks for $7.5B

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 9/21/2020 Brett Molina, USA TODAY

The studio behind video game franchises Doom and Fallout has a new home.

Microsoft announced Monday it will acquire ZeniMax Media for $7.5 billion. The deal includes Bethesda Softworks, the Maryland-based publisher that works on video game properties including Fallout and The Elder Scrolls.

"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,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement.

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ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda, was founded in 1999 and currently has more than 2,300 employees. Microsoft said the company's leadership structure will remain unchanged. 

“This is a thrilling day for this company, our employees, and our fans," said Robert Altman, chairman and CEO of ZeniMax, in a statement. "We have enjoyed a close partnership with Microsoft for decades, and this deal is a natural progression of those years working together."

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The acquisition gives Microsoft a significant edge for its upcoming Xbox video game console launching this holiday. The company will open up preorders for the Xbox Series X and Series S on Tuesday, Sept. 22.

The deal adds several notable video game properties to its portfolio to bolster the case for choosing an Xbox over Sony's rival PlayStation 5. Along with Doom, Fallout and The Elder Scrolls, Bethesda also publishes the series Wolfenstein.

In a note released Monday, research firm DFC Intelligence said while the deal would provide "negligible" impact on immediate console sales, it could help cement the tech giant's position in the industry.

"Long-term it could help Microsoft regain a leadership position in the video game business," said DFC.

Microsoft said the deal beefs up its internal video game studios from 15 to 23. Also, Microsoft said all future Bethesda titles will appear on the subscription service Xbox Game Pass on the same day they launch.

"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," said Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, in a statement. "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." 

Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Microsoft acquires ZeniMax Media, 'Fallout' publisher Bethesda Softworks for $7.5B

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