Microsoft landed a major blow in its decades-long battle with its video game industry rival Sony on Monday (US time), announcing the $US7.5 billion ($10.4 billion) acquisition of a video game company that narrowed the gap between the two tech giants’ offerings.
By buying game maker ZeniMax Media, the parent company of gaming studios like Bethesda, Microsoft gained control of major gaming franchises like The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Doom, Quake and Wolfenstein. The deal allows Microsoft to counter criticism that it lags behind Sony in the quality of its games while deepening its game catalogue seven weeks before both Microsoft and Sony release a new generation of gaming consoles.
Gamers have long complained that Microsoft’s Xbox consoles lacked the type of exclusive, high-quality games that Sony promotes as a major selling point for its PlayStation consoles. For years, Sony owned more games studios than Microsoft. But last year, Microsoft passed Sony, owning 15 studios to Sony’s 14. The deal announced increases Microsoft’s lead to 23 game studios, and gives it control over some of the world’s most popular franchises. Sony declined to comment on Microsoft’s purchase.
Microsoft did not say how many of its newly acquired games would be exclusive to the Xbox, but pointed to the remarks of Phil Spencer, the company’s executive vice president of gaming, who said in an interview with Bloomberg that games would be available to other consoles on a “case-by-case basis.”