Microsoft is acquiring the video game publisher known for franchises like Fallout and The Elder Scrolls — and it's plunking down a significant amount of cash to do so.
Microsoft on Monday announced it's acquiring ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks, for $7.5 billion. Bethesda has released games in wildly-popular franchises including Fallout, The Elder Scrolls, and Doom. This, Bloomberg reports, is Microsoft's "biggest video game purchase ever." It surpasses the $2.5 billion that the company paid in 2014 for Mojang, the creator of Minecraft, Variety notes. In fact, it's one of Microsoft's biggest-ever acquisitions in general, coming in not far behind its purchase of Skype.
Microsoft is preparing to debut its new Xbox line this November and is looking to bring more customers into its Xbox Game Pass subscription service, in which users pay a monthly fee to access a catalog of games. Microsoft on Monday said it will be "adding Bethesda's iconic franchises to Xbox Game Pass" and intends to bring "Bethesda's future games," such as the upcoming Starfield, "into Xbox Game Pass the same day they launch on Xbox or PC."
Sony is also preparing to debut its new Playstation 5 in November, and Axios writes that for Sony, Microsoft scooping up Bethesda "presents an enormous industry challenge."