In a massive surprise announcement, Xbox head Phil Spencer today revealed that Microsoft has entered into an agreement to acquire ZeniMax Media, the company that owns the high profile game development studios Bethesda Softworks, Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, ZeniMax Online Studios, Arkane, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog, and Roundhouse Studios.
The deal is costing Microsoft $7.5 billion, and with the addition, the Xbox Game Studios family has now grown from 15 to 23. The acquisition also includes the 2,300 employees of Zenimax and its studios situated across the world.
As with its other first-party studios, Microsoft will be seeking to bring all of the new studios' upcoming titles to Xbox Game Pass on day one across Xbox consoles and PC.
"One of the things that has me most excited is seeing the roadmap with Bethesda’s future games, some announced and many unannounced, to Xbox console and PC including Starfield, the highly anticipated, new space epic currently in development by Bethesda Game Studios," added Spencer. "Like us, Bethesda are passionate believers in building a diverse array of creative experiences, in exploring new game franchises, and in telling stories in bold ways."
The deal brings in a massive amount of well-known franchises to the Xbox camp, including Fallout, Elder Scrolls, Wolfenstein, DOOM, Dishonored, Prey, Quake, and Starfield. However, it's unclear what will now happen to the Bethesda-published titles Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo, which were announced as PlayStation 5 exclusives earlier this year.
Update: In an interview with Bloomberg, Phil Spencer has said Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo's timed PlayStation 5 exclusive commitments will be honored. Moreover, there is a chance that upcoming Xbox Game Studios will be brought to rival consoles, with Microsoft saying it will decide this "on a case by case basis."