Microsoft completes acquisition of Bethesda to acquire Sony

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Todd Howard, director and executive producer at Bethesda Game Studios.

Christian Petersen | Getty Images

Microsoft has completed the blockbuster acquisition of ZeniMax, the parent company of video game maker Bethesda.

The company announced in September that it would buy ZeniMax for $ 7.5 billion in cash. It is the largest gaming acquisition in Microsoft history, surpassing the $ 2.5 billion the company paid to purchase Minecraft developer Mojang in 2014.

The Bethesda deal will close a few days after the European Union and the US Securities and Exchange Commission blessed the takeover. Bethesda is a household name in gaming. A number of hit franchises have been released, including the RPG series Fallout and The Elder Scrolls, and the Doom shooter franchise.

In a blog post on Tuesday, Microsoft confirmed rumors that some new Bethesda games would be exclusive to the Xbox console and Windows PCs.

“With the Bethesda creative teams, gamers should know that Xbox consoles, PC and Game Pass are the best place to experience new Bethesda games, including some new titles in the future that are exclusive to Xbox and PC players said Phil Spencer, head of Microsoft’s Xbox unit.

Such a move would intensify Microsoft’s competition with Sony. Both companies unveiled their next-generation consoles last year in hopes of attracting gamers with promises of big improvements to the older systems.

However, taking a different approach than Sony, Microsoft was heavily marketing its Xbox Game Pass subscription service, which gives gamers access to a library of games. Sony, on the other hand, is promoting new exclusive PlayStation products to attract gamers.

With Bethesda, Microsoft hopes to expand Xbox Game Pass by adding the Rockville, Maryland-based studio’s catalog of titles. But the goal is also to convince people to play on the platforms and PCs of the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S instead of the new PlayStation 5 from Sony.

Microsoft has often been viewed as lagging behind Sony when it comes to major first-party releases. Xbox Game Studios’ highly anticipated new Halo game, Halo Infinite, has been postponed until later this year after responding to quality issues in a reveal of the game.

Gambling has been a major beneficiary of the coronavirus pandemic as people have been spending more time at home. Big publishers like Microsoft’s Xbox Game Studios and Electronic Arts have tried to capitalize on this trend by using their huge piles of money to track down smaller game developers.