In a year dominated by next-generation console releases, Microsoft’s announcement today may be the biggest gaming news of 2020. The Xbox maker is entering into an agreement to buy ZeniMax Media, one of the largest independent gaming publishers in operation. ZeniMax owns a number of high-profile studios, including id Software, Arkane Studios and Bethesda Softworks, amongst others. The end result is that Microsoft now owns game franchises including Doom, Quake, Fallout and The Elder Scrolls.
Microsoft is paying $7.5 billion in the all-cash transaction, and is expected to complete in the second half of next year, subject to regulatory approval. Phil Spencer said that the relationship between Microsoft and ZeniMax’s various studios has been a close one for years. After all, id Software was behind the original Wolfenstein and Doom, giving them hallowed status in the halls of PC gaming.