Maybe the biggest gaming news story of the year landed this week—Microsoft bought ZeniMax Media (opens in new tab). It's huge, like the amount Microsoft paid: a cool $7.5 billion. We had some guesses as to what it will mean (opens in new tab) for gamers and the industry itself, but we'll have to wait a while to find out for sure.
In the meantime, lets go ahead and pretend we've got $7.5 billion, and that we have to spend it on a game company, too. Which game company would you buy? And once you owned it, what would you do? What changes would you make or what directives would you issue, if any?
We've got our answers below, along with some from the PC Gamer Forums (opens in new tab). (It doesn't cost a dime to join, so why don't you?) You can probably guess from the image above which company several people picked. Let us hear which one you'd buy in the comments below.
Alan Dexter: Wizards of the Coast
If I had the money, I'd definitely drop a chunk on it to try and snap up my favourite purveyor of cards that should be turned sideways—I am of course talking about Magic the Gathering. I'd ease off the pressure a bit and let them focus on being more creative instead of pushing out semi-broken expansion after semi-broken expansion. The only problem is $7.5 billion may not be enough, as WotC is owned by Hasbro, which currently has a market cap of just over $10bn.
Morgan Park: Nintendo
I'd have to team up with at least one other billionaire to make the purchase, but together we could help Nintendo make great games/consoles without all of the bad Nintendo-isms. I envision a Nintendo that understands online multiplayer! Or takes bigger swings on its exclusives! At this point, I'd buy the company just to fund a JoyCon that doesn't drift or lose signal when my cat walks in front of it. I'd also port everything to PC (of course) and hire the folks who made that Mario 64 PC port to redo 3D All-Stars the right way.
Lauren Morton: BioWare
Do I need to explain myself? Okay fine, I'd literally just be a fly on the wall in their writers' room. Hmm, me? No, I'm just listening. Don't mind me. Multiplayer? Nah, just do whatever feels right to you.
Robin Valentine: Also Bioware
If there was any chance of resurrecting the BioWare I once loved, I'd have to take it. No idea how I'd go about restoring it to its former glory, but I couldn't do much worse of a job of running it than EA have done, so I figure it'd be worth a shot.
I'd probably start by getting them to dump Anthem completely, move a bunch of those resources to Dragon Age, and get them working on an RPG in a new setting too. Hopefully I'd have enough change left over from my $7.5bn to hire back a bunch of the key creatives who've left over the years.
And hey, if the games don't work out, I'd be happy enough if they just pivoted to making me new artbooks every year.
Chris Livingston: Bethesda
What. What. Did someone beat me to it? Okay, raise my bid to $7.6 billion then (I'll borrow $100 million from Lauren) and that should be enough to pry Bethesda back from Microsoft and into my portfolio.
Then I'd get to work. Unlike those wimps at Microsoft, who say they're not gonna change anything, I'd start tampering immediately. Starfield? Back burner. Fallout 5? It can wait. Deathloop? Okay, that looks pretty interesting, so keep it up.
Everyone else, and I mean everyone, you're all working on getting The Elder Scrolls 6 out by December. This December. It'll be a PC exclusive, so make the UI for monitors, not TVs and controllers. Double the voice-acting budget, make dragons more interesting, get Shirley Currey into a mo-cap suit (opens in new tab), and we're putting Spellcrafting and the Speechcraft minigame from Oblivion back in.
Don't look at me like that! The Speechcraft minigame was great and I demand it's back in. Everyone got that? Good. Now get to work. You've got three months.
From the forums (opens in new tab)
Zloth: I would buy this little company called Zloth Inc... what? No?? OK OK.... I'll take Paradox and do whatever it takes to get Kerberos to come back and make a proper Sword of the Stars 3. Then see if Monte Cook would like to play around in Darkspace again. Depending on how far BattleTech 2 is, I might try and get Harebrained to do a Star Fleet Battles: Federation & Empire game. (If they can resolve the IP mess of BattleTech, surely we can get Kzinti back into Star Trek!)
Ashrain037: Bioware if its possible, Remaking all their games and I would continue Shepard's story from mass effect 3. Plus, adding quality story based dlcs on andromeda.
Sarafan: If I had $7.5 billion I'd buy CD Projekt Red... Oh wait... That's not enough! In this case I'd fund my own studio which would develop my dream game: an RPG in space with some very unique features and a plot which I can't reveal here.
Frindis: I'd buy Konami, fire the ones who fired Kojima and hypnotize Kojima to believe he never got fired in the first place.