Microsoft acquires game publisher Bethesda Softworks for $7.5 billion

Microsoft is continuing to add firepower to its gaming unit. Its latest move: Spending $7.5 billion for the creator of The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Doom, and other key franchises.

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Microsoft is continuing to beef up its gaming franchise with the purchase of ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks, for $7.5 billion in cash. Bethesda is a major game publisher and creator of The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Wolfenstein, Doom, and other key franchises. 

For a sense of perspective, Microsoft also paid $7.5 billion for GitHub in 2018.  

The move comes on September 21, a day before Microsoft is opening up preorders for its new gaming consoles, the Xbox One X and Xbox One S. (It's also the day before the start of its Ignite 2020 IT Pro conference.) Both of the new consoles will go on sale on Nov. 10.

With the addition of Bethesda, Microsoft will grow its number of game studios from 15 to 23. Plans are to add Bethesda's franchises to Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft's gaming subscription bundle. According to Microsoft, officials are planning to add Bethesda's future games into Xbox Game Pass the same day they launch on Xbox or PC.

Bethesda Softworks was founded 34 years ago and along with ZeniMax employs multiple thousands of people.