Microsoft has announced its intentions to purchase ZeniMax Media for $7.5 billion. That brings Bethesda, Machine Games, Arkane, id Software, and more storied game developers under the Xbox umbrella, and while it’s the biggest acquisition Microsoft’s gaming division has yet undertaken, it’s probably not the last. Microsoft’s CEO hints that the company isn’t done with the buyouts yet.
Microsoft will consider buying more videogame developers in the future, Satya Nadella tells CNET. The company’s goal is to keep building out the content that it can offer on Xbox and PC through additional internal studios making even more games. “You can’t wake up one day and say ‘Let me build a game studio’”, Nadella says. “The idea of having content is so we can reach larger communities.”
Xbox Game Studios has already acquired a number of third-parties over the years, including Bungie in 2000, Rare in 2002 and Mojang in 2014. In 2018, they started a much larger series of acquisitions, and have since bought up Compulsion Games, inXile, Ninja Theory, Obsidian, Playground, Undead Labs, and Double Fine.
Microsoft is betting big on Xbox Game Pass, and the success of the service depends greatly on how much original content the company can stock it with. It’s no surprise to hear that Microsoft is still considering further studio purchases, but it’s worth noting that a company that big is going to be considering every potential purchase pretty much all the time.
We still don’t know what Microsoft’s Game Pass future will truly look like, as most of the company’s exclusive Game Pass titles entered development well before the service was established. Netflix has created a fundamental change in how television is made, but will the same shift happen in videogames? Time is gonna tell.
For now, don’t be surprised if more upcoming PC games keep ending up under the Xbox umbrella.