Microsoft dropped a bombshell this week when it announced its $7.5 billion acquisition of ZeniMax Media, the company behind Bethesda Softworks. It is the biggest gaming transaction ever and shows Redmond’s commitment to the sector. So much so, CEO Satya Nadella is promising more purchases of game publishers.
Throughout the last generation of consoles, rumors surrounded Microsoft’s Xbox division. The Xbox One took a beating from Sony’s PlayStation 4 in terms of sales and some argued Microsoft would one day offload the Xbox brand.
Certainly, amongst the big hitters of Azure, Office, and Windows, Xbox is not a major revenue generator for Microsoft.
However, instead of departing the gaming market, Microsoft is doubling down. The company is on board the next generation of consoles with the Xbox Series X and Series S. Moreover, Microsoft is increasingly finding ways to integrate gaming into its surging cloud business.
Project xCloud and Xbox Game Pass showcase the company’s ambitions beyond hardware. Reflecting on the purchase of Bethesda, Nadella told CNET more studios are in Microsoft’s sights.
“You can’t wake up one day and say, ‘Let me build a game studio,’” Nadella said. Instead, he says Microsoft Game Studios can thrive by simply buying already established names. Xbox chief Phil Spencer adds the company’s focus on games content will help the Xbox brand grow:
“Content is just the incredible ingredient to our platform that we continue to invest in. This doubles the size of our creative organization.”
While Microsoft will now own Bethesda properties like Fallout and the Elder Scrolls, Nadella said this week the company will approach console exclusives on a case-by-case basis.