Microsoft (NASDAQ:) has long been a force in the gaming industry since the release of its Xbox on November 15, 2001.
In it’s 2019 annual report, Microsoft showed no signs of slowing down as it continuously expands further into gaming.
“We are mobilizing to pursue our expansive opportunity in the gaming industry, broadening our approach to how we think about gaming end-to-end, from the way games are created and distributed to how they are played and viewed,” Microsoft said.
Yesterday, Microsoft announced its latest move, a $7.5 billion cash acquisition of ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks, which is one of the largest privately held game developers and publishers in the world. Microsoft will gain access to Bethesda Softworks’ portfolio of games, such as best-selling gaming franchises The Elder Scrolls and Fallout, as well as the company’s technology and talent.
“Gaming is the most expansive category in the entertainment industry, as people everywhere turn to gaming to connect, socialize and play with their friends,” Microsoft CEO Natya Sadella said. “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 said the acquisition will grow its creative studio from 15 to 23 teams as the deal includes publishing offices and development studios across the world with more than 2,300 employees. Microsoft expects the deal to close in the second half of fiscal year 2021 as Bethesda Softworks’ structure and leadership will remain in place.
“The world, our industry, and our company has changed a lot in the 34 years since Bethesda Softworks was first founded. Today, it changed again. And I know that brings up questions,” Bethesda Softworks SVP, Global Marketing and Communications Pete Hines said. “But the key point is we’re still Bethesda. We’re still working on the same games we were yesterday, made by the same studios we’ve worked with for years, and those games will be published by us.”
The deal comes ahead of the highly-anticipated November 10 launch of Xbox One’s successor, the Xbox Series X, which Microsoft is calling the “fastest, most powerful Xbox ever,” and Series S.
In the release, Microsoft noted that the gaming industry is expected to do more than $200 billion in annual revenue in 2021. The company is proving it isn’t shy about spending to gets its slice of the rapidly growing gaming market.