Microsoft paid more for its acquisition of Bethesda than Disney paid for Star Wars and Marvel, with the company paying out an estimated $7.5 billion in order to acquire the studio for its Xbox brand. This includes ownership of huge franchises such as Fallout, The Elder Scrolls, Doom, and more.
Microsoft today announced that it had purchased Bethesda parent company ZeniMax Media and that the holding company’s studios would become new Xbox first-party developers. Along with Bethesda, ZeniMax also owns Doom developer id Software, Wolfenstein developer MachineGames, and The Evil Within developer Tango Gameworks. This is the biggest deal Microsoft has ever made, and is the second-largest game acquisition of all time, behind Tencent’s purchasing of Supercell for $8.6 billion in 2016.
Comparatively, Disney paid out $4 billion to Lucasfilm to acquire Star Wars and $4 billion to Marvel Entertainment. This means Microsoft’s deal with ZeniMax is almost as much as the combined value Disney placed upon its two leading media franchises. It’s also more money than the $7.4 billion Disney paid out to acquire Pixar, the animation studio behind Toy Story and Finding Nemo.
Here’s how the deal stacks up compared to other video game acquisitions:
Bethesda, Microsoft, and the other most expensive video game acquisitions ever
- Tencent purchases Supercell ($8.6 billion, 2016)
- Microsoft purchases ZeniMax Media ($7.5 billion, 2020)
- Activision Blizzard purchases King ($5.9 billion, 2015)
- Microsoft purchases Mojang ($2.5 billion, 2014)
- Facebook purchases Oculus VR ($2 billion, 2014)
- Zynga purchases Peak ($1.8 billion, 2020)
- Bandai purchases Namco ($1.7 billion, 2005)
- Zhongji Holding purchases DianDian Interactive ($960 million, 2014)
- Churchill Downs Incorporated purchases Big Fish Games ($885 million, 2014)
- EA purchases BioWare and Pandemic Studios ($775 million, 2007)
The huge price Microsoft has paid to secure ZeniMax shows how much value the company is putting into its next-gen Xbox. With the company now having ownership of some of the most popular video game franchises available, this will be a major advantage when it comes to convincing consumers to pick up an Xbox Series X or S.