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Game changer: Microsoft buys Elder Scrolls company ZeniMax for $7.5bn

The Guardian

Microsoft is acquiring ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks, publisher of the best-selling video game franchises The Elder Scrolls, Fallout and Doom. The $7.5bn deal (£5.85m) will see all future releases from Bethesda's studios included on the Xbox Game Pass subscription service. Xbox chief Phil Spencer said: "Like us, Bethesda are passionate believers in building a diverse array of creative experiences, in exploring new game franchises, and in telling stories in bold ways. All of their great work will continue and grow, and we look forward to empowering them with the resources and support of Microsoft to scale their creative visions to more players in new ways for you." The move could significantly affect the industry.


Before pre-orders open, an Xbox mic drop: Microsoft acquires Bethesda Softworks

Mashable

If you were on the fence about which new video game console to pre-order, maybe this will push you over the edge. Microsoft is acquiring ZeniMax media in a $7.5 billion cash deal that brings Bethesda Softworks into the Xbox family. Even if you're not familiar with Bethesda by name, you probably know some of the big series it publishes, like Doom, Fallout, Wolfenstein, and Elder Scrolls. Microsoft confirmed the acquisition in a Monday morning announcement, with just over 24 hours to go until the Sept. 22 start of Xbox Series S and X pre-orders. There's no other way to characterize it: This is a power move. As Microsoft and Sony line up and make their case to games-loving consumers on which console to buy in 2020, the Bethesda acquisition amounts to a mic drop.


Microsoft acquires ZeniMax Media, 'Fallout' publisher Bethesda Softworks for $7.5B

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

The studio behind video game franchises Doom and Fallout has a new home. Microsoft announced Monday it will acquire ZeniMax Media for $7.5 billion. The deal includes Bethesda Softworks, the Maryland-based publisher that works on video game properties including Fallout and The Elder Scrolls. "As a proven game developer and publisher, Bethesda has seen success across every category of games, and together, we will further our ambition to empower the more than three billion gamers worldwide," Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement. ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda, was founded in 1999 and currently has more than 2,300 employees.


Connect with friends in these video games

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

If you want to open the door to more social gaming experiences for your kids or teens, here’s how to get started.


Amazon warns customers PlayStation 5 pre-order could arrive late due to 'high demand'

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

Did you pre-order a PlayStation 5 through Amazon? There's a chance you won't get it on launch day. Several people shared on Twitter emails received from Amazon warning their PS5 video game console they "may not receive this item on the day it is released due to high demand." Amazon confirmed the authenticity of the emails to USA TODAY. On Thursday, Sony opened up pre-orders of the PS5 after revealing details on the pricing and release of its highly-anticipated video game console.


'Tell Me Why' town of Delos Crossing should be a warning to future gamemakers

Washington Post - Technology News

"Tell Me Why" does not feel like a vaunted new standard or revolution in queer storytelling, especially in the face of an entire history of game development that actually engages with oppression. Puzzle-box houses, narrative design, and representation have come a long way in both mainstream games and the ever-prominent corporate-adjacent "indie." But a half a decade of queer and indigenous indie development has shaped the genre's landscape more than the corporate backing of Microsoft ever could. In a year where the trans coming-home story of "If Found…" and "Umurangi Generation's" own evolution of the walking sim achieved critical recognition with little to no advertising budget, "Tell Me Why's" grand entrance feels a bit overstated.


The Oculus Quest 2 is 'VR finally done right' — here's where to pre-order

Mashable

TL;DR: As of Sept. 18, Oculus Quest 2 VR headsets, accessories, and bundles are available to pre-order at Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, Target, GameStop, and at Oculus.com; the headset itself starts at $299 for 64GB of storage. Between the Nintendo Switch, the Xbox Series X, and the Playstation 5, 2020 is proving to be a huge year for video game consoles. But if initial reviews are to be believed, you're going to want to scoot the all-new Oculus Quest 2 to the top of your "must-buy" list. Announced at the Facebook Connect virtual and augmented reality conference on Sept. 16, the successor to 2019's Oculus Quest is a standalone wireless headset featuring four headset-mounted cameras, 3D positional audio, a high-res display panel capable of supporting 90Hz refresh rates, and the new Snapdragon XR2 chipset, which is specially designed for VR and AR. It's remarkably easy to set up and use (although a Facebook login is required -- boo), and you can choose from two different configurations: either 64GB or 256GB of storage.


Untangling the PlayStation 5 preorder mess, and where to get one

Washington Post - Technology News

The retailers then apparently decided to do what they do on Black Friday: Open up earlier than expected and let the mayhem commence. Geoff Keighley, the former journalist who now runs The Game Awards, shared breaking news about retailers opening preorder sites early Wednesday night. Sure enough, within the hour, Walmart's site opened up for preorders, which were gone within minutes. Other retailers like Best Buy, Target and GameStop followed suit.


Streamers are failing at 'Fall Guys,' and succeeding on Twitch

Washington Post - Technology News

Sweaty hands, increased heart rates and stress-induced rages are common occurrences when browsing through the catalogue of streamers playing the game. But the humor that undergirds failure in "Fall Guys" -- where the obstacles and surfaces are primed to pinball the player's jelly bean body at the slightest misstep -- has given anyone who plays the game on stream a chance to be successful. Players who had trouble getting victory royales in "Fortnite" can still grow an audience by losing over and over again on Fall Mountain. But when a streamer finally finds success, especially after hours (sometimes days) of falling short, it is one of the most heartwarming things you can find on Twitch.


American Girl's New Doll "Courtney" Is the Game Developer the '80s Needed

Slate

The mid-'80s was a notable time for women in computer science--because that was when they started disappearing. From 1970 into the start of the 1980s, the percentage of computer science degrees conferred to women rose, peaking at 37.1 percent in 1984. But this number then dipped drastically, and we've never recovered. The most recent report from the Computing Research Association shows the number of women graduating with computer science bachelor's degrees, in its sample of U.S. institutions, in 2019 at 21 percent. So, after decades of women representing both pioneers of computing and a large percentage of the day-to-day programming workforce, what happened in the '80s?