Microsoft stunned the collective gaming community on Monday when it announced its humungous $7.5 billion acquisition of ZeniMax Media. The “landmark” deal, the latest in a string of major buys for the company, will bring industry leviathans likes Bethesda Softworks and Id Software under the Microsoft umbrella, posing a serious threat to Sony’s dominance.

The move marks one of the biggest acquisitions not just in gaming, but in media as a whole, dwarfing even Disney’s blockbuster $4 billion acquisition of LucasFilm in 2012. At $7.5 billion, it's the most expensive video game deal ever, Bloomberg reports. In relation to Microsoft’s past ventures, the purchase far exceeds the $2.5 billion the company paid for “Minecraft” creator Mojang Studios.

The exact details of how this deal will affect the release plans of future ZeniMax titles is unclear, leading to mass speculation that future entries in series like “The Elder Scrolls,” “Fallout,” “Doom,” “Wolfenstein,” and “Dishonored” will be Xbox exclusives. Neither company made mention of this possibility in the official announcement.

What was confirmed is that titles from Bethesda, Id, and more will be making their way to Game Pass, Microsoft’s Xbox and PC subscription service. Future releases will also be available at launch, adding incredible value to the service which will soon see an influx of EA games as well.

ZeniMax games have a long and fruitful history on PlayStation consoles. In fact, unless the terms of the deals change, Microsoft is now set to publish two titles previously confirmed as PS5 timed exclusives: Arkane Studios’ “Deathloop” and Tango Gameworks’ “GhostWire: Tokyo.”

Many were quick to point out that despite Microsoft buying Mojang years ago, “Minecraft” remains available on every gaming platform under the sun.

The confirmation of Game Pass availability confirms Microsoft’s increasing focus on services as a way to drive revenue and gain leverage over Sony. While Sony can still generate huge sales off the back of its massive PS4 sales, Xbox One had no such luxury. Offering major releases on a service like Game Pass allowed Microsoft to build revenue while differentiating its business from Sony.

Some have also observed that the Game Pass availability might be enough for Microsoft to benefit from the acquisition while still allowing games to release on PlayStation consoles, especially with some new PS5 games set to retail for $70.

Microsoft's new game console called the Xbox Series X will be launching on November 10, 2020 along with a smaller version called Xbox S
Microsoft's new game console called the Xbox Series X will be launching on November 10, 2020 along with a smaller version called Xbox S GETTY IMAGES / Christian Petersen

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