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What happened to 12 of gaming’s biggest studios after they were sold


Microsoft’s purchase of ZeniMax Media for $7.5 billion has our minds reeling.

It’s a major move that opens up exciting new possibilities for studios previously restrained by budgets and resources. But if we think about the history of capitalism for one second, the worry creeps in. Even though Master Chief and Doomguy can kiss now (it’s canon), Microsoft’s adoption—or absorption—of some of PC gaming’s most beloved series and studios will likely result in major internal cultural shifts and studio closures over time. Change is a constant with big corporations like this, and if the bottom line isn’t met, Microsoft will eventually move around some furniture in order to keep making money.

But before we truly begin asking what Microsoft’s purchase of ZeniMax means for PC gamers, let’s orient ourselves and steady our minds by looking back at how some of the biggest studio acquisitions worked out. We’re not trying to determine the root cause of what changed (or didn’t) after each studio was bought out, unless it’s been made explicit already.

We’re just sifting through some broad history for context and refreshing our minds to properly process the fact that Microsoft owns Fallout, Wasteland, Halo, Doom, Psychonauts, The Elder Scrolls, Dishonored, Minecraft, Hellblade, Fable, Banjo-Kazooie, Gears of War, Forza, Age of Empires, and more—and that they can all kiss now.

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