PRESS RELEASE Wednesday, June 24, 2009 | 6:23 PM

Express: ZeniMax acquires id Software

The breaking news of the day. ZeniMax, happy owner of the prestigious studio Bethesda - Elder Scrolls, Fallout 3 -, is proud to announce they have acquired the legendary American studio id Software. More than a simple development studio, it's a true slice of modern videogame History ZeniMax just bought, with seminal titles like Wolfenstein 3D, Doom or Quake. Obviously, it's great news for the Texan studio's finances and we can now be sure that id's next productions will be developed in the best possible conditions with ZeniMax. However. For the first time in its history, id doesn't rhyme with indie no more. A page is turned.

Press release:


June 24, 2009 (Rockville, MD) – ZeniMax Media Inc., parent company of noted game publisher Bethesda Softworks, today announced it has completed the acquisition of legendary game studio, id Software, creators of world-renowned games such as DOOM, QUAKE, Wolfenstein, and its upcoming title, RAGE. The acquisition by ZeniMax Media joins together two of the finest, most respected videogame developers in the world, combining the first person shooter (FPS) expertise of id Software with acclaimed role playing game (RPG) developer Bethesda Game Studios – creators of the 2008 Game of the Year, Fallout 3, and the 2006 Game of the Year, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Bethesda Softworks will publish the titles of id Software other than upcoming releases previously committed to other publishers.

Founded in 1991, id Software established itself as an industry leader with some of the best-selling and most critically acclaimed video games of all time. id Software created the original first-person shooter, Wolfenstein 3D, and subsequently set new standards in the genre with the blockbuster releases of its DOOM and QUAKE titles. In addition, id Software developed cutting edge, proprietary technology with the id Tech engine which powers many notable FPS titles, and continues to make great advances in game technology under the direction of John Carmack, one of the country’s technology leaders and a member of the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences (AIAS) Hall of Fame.

Todd Hollenshead, CEO of id Software, commented on the transaction: “This was a unique opportunity to team with a smart, sophisticated publisher like Bethesda Softworks where the interests of the studio and the publisher will be fully aligned in the development and marketing of our titles. In addition, we will now have financial and business resources to support the future growth of id Software, a huge advantage which will result in more and even better games for our fans.”

id Software will continue to operate as a studio under the direction of its founder, John Carmack. No changes will be made in the operations of id Software in the development of its games. All the principals at id Software have signed long-term employment contracts, assuring they will continue in their roles developing games at the studio.

“This puts id Software in a wonderful position going forward,” said John Carmack, who will continue to serve in his current role as Technical Director. “We will now be able to grow and extend all of our franchises under one roof, leveraging our capabilities across multiple teams while enabling forward looking research to be done in the service of all of them. We will be bigger and stronger, as we recruit the best talent to help us build the landmark games of the future. As trite as it may be for me to say that I am extremely pleased and excited about this deal, I am."

Robert Altman, the founder, Chairman & CEO of ZeniMax Media stated, “We, along with many others, consider id Software to be among the finest game studios in the world, with extraordinary design, artistic and technical capabilities. They have demonstrated, repeatedly, that rare ability to create franchise properties that are critical and commercial successes. Our intention is to make sure id Software will continue to do what they do best – make AAA games. Our role will be to provide publisher support through Bethesda Softworks and give id Software the resources it needs to grow and expand.”

ZeniMax Media Inc, which is privately held, was founded in 1999 to create quality interactive entertainment products to meet the growing worldwide demand. The Company is headquartered in Rockville, MD and maintains offices in Hunt Valley, MD, London and Tokyo. Among its wholly owned subsidiaries are Bethesda Softworks, a premier publisher of video games, Vir2L Studios which develops games for the casual market, and ZeniMax Online Studios, a studio dedicated to massively multi-player online games (MMOG).

Bethesda Game Studios, the development group at ZeniMax Media, is one of the top video game studios in the world. Its most recent release, Fallout 3, was the 2008 winner of more than 60 Game of the Year awards, including The Associated Press, Official Xbox Magazine, Yahoo, PC Gamer, IGN, Game Critics Awards, Game Developer Choice Awards, and Gamespy. Bethesda also created the 2006 PC and Xbox 360® Game of the Year, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and the 2002 PC and Xbox® Game of the Year, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. Bethesda Game Studios has created 2 of the 10 best games of all time, Fallout 3 and Oblivion, on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation® 3 platforms, as reported by the industry scoring system found at www.metacritic.com and www.gamerankings.com.

About ZeniMax Media Inc.

ZeniMax Media is a preeminent media organization which has brought together a team of world class game developers, artists and designers, programmers, producers, and leading executives and talent from traditional media. ZeniMax Media creates and publishes original interactive entertainment content for consoles, the PC, and handheld/wireless devices. ZeniMax Media divisions include Bethesda Softworks, Vir2L Studios, ZeniMax Europe Ltd., and ZeniMax Online Studios. ZeniMax, Bethesda Softworks, Bethesda Game Studios, The Elder Scrolls, Oblivion, Morrowind and related logos are registered trademarks or trademarks of ZeniMax Media Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries. Fallout is a registered trademark or trademark of Bethesda Softworks LLC in the U.S. and/or other countries. For more information on ZeniMax Media, visit www.zenimax.com.

About Bethesda Softworks

Bethesda Softworks, part of the ZeniMax Media Inc. family of companies, is a premier developer and worldwide publisher of interactive entertainment software and has produced numerous award-winning titles, most recently with 2006 PC and Xbox 360® Game of the Year and RPG of the Year, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion®, and the 2002 PC and Xbox® Game of the Year and RPG of the Year, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind®. Among Bethesda’s more popular franchises are The Elder Scrolls® series and Fallout®. For more information on Bethesda Softworks’ products, visit www.bethsoft.com.

About id Software
Founded in 1991, id Software has provided technical, design and artistic leadership as an independent game developer and technology innovator. id Software’s iconic brands such as Wolfenstein, DOOM, QUAKE and Enemy Territory have become staples of popular culture for generations of gamers. More information on id Software can be found at www.idsoftware.com. id Software, Wolfenstein, DOOM, QUAKE, RAGE and Enemy Territory and related logos are registered trademarks owned by ZeniMax Media Inc.

All comments

Commented on 2009-06-24 20:00:26
this is BIG!
Commented on 2009-06-24 20:32:57
Indeed breaking news!
Commented on 2009-06-24 20:39:46
instead of investing 50mill in download content Microsoft should really be more on the ball and start investing in buying up studio's like this..they already let bioware slip past them last year, ID would of been perfect for them as they come with their own engine that they could always licence out as well as a back catalog of licenced games.
Commented on 2009-06-24 20:45:00 In reply to bleachedsmiles
They'll make more mony by having a good relationship with 3rd party studios than buying out and financing them.
Commented on 2009-06-24 20:58:53 In reply to Snoopers
Posted by Snoopers
They'll make more mony by having a good relationship with 3rd party studios than buying out and financing them.
Correct, Rare is the perfect example... Not really a cash cow now is it...
Commented on 2009-06-24 21:03:39
A page is turned indeed
Commented on 2009-06-24 21:15:01
Posted by Snoopers
They'll make more mony by having a good relationship with 3rd party studios than buying out and financing them.
Posted by FireWire
Correct, Rare is the perfect example... Not really a cash cow now is it...
True. Most of the best studios, cost a lot more money to buy than Rare did. I think Microsoft paid $350 million for Rare, and unless you count what Microsoft may have planned for NXE Avatars, Rare has not produced anything that even comes close to making up their cost to Microsoft. To be honest, I do not think the collected works of Rare since being acquired by Microsoft has even broken even the purchase of the company.

Not trying to harsh anyone's love of Rare, just pointing out that buying companies is expensive - very expensive. And with games now costing $20 million and up to produce, the need to be able to produce whole libraries of games that earn $100 million each, is critical before even considering a purchase.

It's just a lot cheaper to deal with develops (especially the successful ones) on a game by game basis - or in the case of BioWare and Epic, on a franchise by franchise basis.

You still get the exclusive games you wanted, but you are not living under the pressure of always knowing that you spent more than you are going to earn back in less than a five year period.

That said, I do hate that Microsoft has disbanded several of their existing internal studios. FASA was the biggest loss. Microsoft still owns all their IP, however there were a lot of talented, inspired workers at the developer. Any of those studios could have been restructured or repurposed to steamline their operations. However, considering how much it costs to purchase a successful company, I think it would have been in Microsoft's best long term interest, to have kept the teams they did have, and leverage them as much as possible for exclusive content.
Commented on 2009-06-24 21:18:37
id haven't made a decent game in ages although Rage looks very interesting and Bethesda is just overhyped, I prefer BioWare. This news isn't very exciting to me :/
Commented on 2009-06-24 22:21:21
id NEVER made a game that was NOT decent!

I’m not a fan of this deal.
If it works for id fine but will this work for us? I got my doubts as now not id got the last word regarding their projects…
Commented on 2009-06-24 22:46:28
Doom 3 was pretty nice and Quake Live is totally kickass. Rage looks pretty cool as well. And say what you will about Bethesda but from TES3 i've played all their games for at least 150-200 hours a pop, so no matter how much i end up whining about the games later i still have to admit that they make games that are entertaining.
Commented on 2009-06-24 22:55:04 In reply to Ishigami
Posted by Ishigami
id NEVER made a game that was NOT decent!
Doom 3 sucked and the expansion pack was even lamer...sure they made the first FPS but today they are just another mediocre company. They have long been surpassed by Bungie, Crytek, Dice and some others.
Commented on 2009-06-24 23:10:29
I loved Doom 3. You're self hating if you didn't like it _Bringer.
Commented on 2009-06-24 23:31:34 In reply to Snoopers
Posted by Snoopers
They'll make more mony by having a good relationship with 3rd party studios than buying out and financing them.
Not really.. you dont buy studio's for the developers but for the licences. People can call Rare a bad buy but it secured microsoft the licence of banjo and perfect dark.. which during time of purchase was very promising for them. Perfect dark zero or whatever it was called didnt ignite the world.. but banjo's still makes them money.. and importantly it prevents the licences hitting other platforms. Do you think Microsoft would of made more money from Rare had banjo hit other platforms?

And like i said ID come with more than the licence for doom/quake/rage ect.. they also come with an engine.. its the engine that Microsoft could of licenced out as there's alot of fuss about it being the next monopolised engine this gen after the UT3 engine
Commented on 2009-06-24 23:34:44
Pardon me but I, and many others, beg to differ.
Id itself, apart from Quake Live which I do not consider a real game, did not release a game since Doom 3. Doom 3 back then was decent and well received by gamers and critics (e.g. Metacritic 87% with almost 90 Reviews)
Doom 3 Resurrection was developed by Nerve Software like Quake 4 was done by Raven Software and Enemy Territory is done by Splash Damage.
The other Studios you mentioned did release games in the recent years and of course their games take advantage of the development in the genre and technology. You are actually comparing a game from 2004 with games from 2008/9.
We will see how much id got “surpassed” when Rage and Doom 4 hit the market.
Commented on 2009-06-24 23:45:17 In reply to FreeSwag
Posted by FreeSwag
It's just a lot cheaper to deal with develops (especially the successful ones) on a game by game basis - or in the case of BioWare and Epic, on a franchise by franchise basis.
Thing is EA own Bioware now.. and all biowares licences with it..such as Mass effect, jade empire - both games Microsoft initially spent alot of money producing and marketing yet dont own the licence. It will now probably cost Microsoft more dealing with EA and securing an exclusive of Mass effect 2 and all future titles, than it would of done had the bought Bioware are a in house studio. They really should of bought Bioware when they had the chance... especially considering the millions they spend establishing the games that EA now owns the rights to.

Microsoft should at the very least make sure they own all the rights to the games they produce. Halo for example.. they never owned Bungie, but they do own the rights to the games bungie made for them - halo will never hit the ps3, and bungie arent needed for Microsoft to still milk that cow.

Its a shame, cause Microsoft dont really have alot of first party studio's supporting the 360.. the big ones are all focusing on the casual market. Securing a studio like ID would offer them a much needed support for their hardcore market - which it seems they are relying on the 3rd party studio's for.
Commented on 2009-06-24 23:54:00 In reply to bleachedsmiles
Posted by bleachedsmiles
It will now probably cost Microsoft more dealing with EA and securing an exclusive of Mass effect 2 and all future titles, than it would of done had the bought Bioware are a in house studio.
I doubt it.
Commented on 2009-06-25 01:57:19 In reply to Snoopers
dude Microsoft paid 50mill just to secure two bits of 3rd party dlc as exclusive
Commented on 2009-06-25 02:12:59 In reply to bleachedsmiles
Posted by bleachedsmiles
dude Microsoft paid 50mill just to secure two bits of 3rd party dlc as exclusive
That's nothing compared to the price of a studio + feeding it on a daily basis. Seriously.
Commented on 2009-06-25 08:37:09 In reply to Phaethon360
Posted by Phaethon360
I loved Doom 3. You're self hating if you didn't like it _Bringer.
Doom 3 is hella underrated. It gets panned on the internet a lot in retrospect, but both it and Quake 4 (Raven) are decent games. They're not great, but I actually like them both a bit more than Prey.

I look forward to seeing Doom 4, or "Doom" as they appear to be calling it. I hope that it's awesome, but my expectations aren't actually super high. Id has always been more about technology than game design.

Despite those facts, their games are still pretty enjoyable.

PS. Valve and Infinity Ward are today's kings of the genre. We'll see if DICE still has it in them when BF3 is finally revealed.

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