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Photo: Microsoft

Microsoft said Monday it would acquire ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks, one of the largest privately held game developers and publishers in the world, for $7.5 billion in cash. 

Why it matters: The deal brings an unprecedented level of gaming expertise and resources, including intellectual property, talent, and technology, to Microsoft's Xbox. It will also help further lift Microsoft's cloud gaming suite, Xbox Game Pass.

The state of play: The mega-deal is happening just weeks ahead of Microsoft's new Xbox launch in November.

  • Bethesda publishes hit games like Doom, The Elder Scrolls and Fallout. They all will be added to Xbox Game Pass, which now has over 15 million subscribers.
  • The acquisition gives Microsoft eight additional creative studio teams, growing from 15 to 23. 

The deal also presents an enormous industry challenge to Sony, which has pioneered the production of games for years, and is also set to release its new PlayStation 5 in November.

The big picture: The move comes as a cloud gaming boom is taking over tech.

  • Worldwide cloud video game revenue is expected to grow to nearly $4.5 billion USD by 2024, up from roughly $500 million in 2019, per the report.
  • Tech giants are looking to move gaming software and processing to the cloud in an effort to eliminate the need for players to buy individual copies of games and expensive specialized hardware required to play them.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Frenetic tech giants' next trick: Learn patience and play a long game

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

In 2021, tech, an industry built on speedy change, is going to have to learn to wait.

The big picture: Every crisis tech faces — from the onslaught of antitrust litigation to the massive SolarWinds cyberattack to the pandemic's toll on health and the economy — has unfolded in slow motion and will take at least as long to resolve.

Right-wingers making McCarthy sweat for future Speaker post

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy stands with his Republican colleagues outside the House on Nov. 17. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Right-wing elements in the Republican Party are complicating House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's attempts to become the next speaker of the House should the GOP take back the majority in 2022.

Why it matters: While McCarthy has worked carefully to build trust among the conservatives who tanked his chances at clinching the speakership in 2015, they're still circling ahead of the next Speaker vote in January 2023.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Congress sprints to meet crush of deadlines

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Congressional leaders have been pushing off vital action for months — and a lot of it will catch up with them in December, which begins Wednesday.

Driving the news: Funding for the federal government is set to expire at midnight on Friday. There are also consequential deadlines related to the debt limit, President Biden's agenda and annual actions like voting on the National Defense Authorization Act.