Microsoft completes Bethesda acquisition, promises some Xbox and PC exclusives

Microsoft has finalized its $7.5 billion deal to acquire ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Doom and Fallout studio Bethesda Softworks. The finalization comes just a day after Microsoft secured regulatory approval from the EU for the acquisition, and it will now bolster the company’s first-party Xbox games studios up to a total of 23.

“This is the next step in building an industry-leading first party studios team, a commitment we have to our Xbox community,” says Microsoft’s gaming chief Phil Spencer. “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.”

This deal includes Bethesda sub-studios like Dishonored developer Arkane, Wolfenstein studio MachineGames, Doom maker id Software, and The Evil Within studio Tango Gameworks. Microsoft now has 23 first-party game studios, compared to Sony’s 13 PlayStation Studios.

Bethesda will now be run as a separate business at Microsoft, with its existing leadership. This is the same approach Microsoft has used for its recent big acquisitions, including Mojang, LinkedIn, and GitHub.

In a separate blog post, Bethesda marketing chief Pete Hines reveals that there won’t be any big changes just yet:

“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.”

Microsoft originally announced its plans to acquire Bethesda in September, promising to honor PS5 exclusivity commitments for Deathloop and GhostWire: Tokyo. Games like The Elder Scrolls: Online will also “continue to be supported exactly as it was.”

Questions had been raised over Microsoft’s plans for Bethesda exclusives on Xbox and PC, and Spencer has made it clear today there will be “some new titles” that will only be available on Microsoft’s platforms. Exactly how many isn’t known yet, but in the meantime Microsoft is bringing more Bethesda games to Xbox Game Pass later this week.

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