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ZeniMax Media Inc. is an American video game holding company based in Rockville, Maryland. The company is the owner of Bethesda Softworks, the publisher of Fallout Series beginning with Fallout 3. Following a $7.5 billion acquisition by Microsoft, the company became part of Xbox Game Studios in March 2021.[1]


Christopher Weaver, the founder of Bethesda Softworks, established ZeniMax with Robert A. Altman in 1999.[2] The company's name is a combination of the words "zenith" and "maximum."[3] Weaver brought Altman on board as CEO, contributing his personal stock in Bethesda Softworks so that the new shell company, named ZeniMax Media, could obtain funding.[2] Subsequently, Bethesda Game Studios was established in 2001.

ZeniMax acquired the Fallout franchise from Interplay Entertainment in 2004, and began development of Fallout 3 late that year.[4] The title released in October 2008.[5] ZeniMax acquired id Software in 2009.[6]

Robert Walsh, technical director of enterprise business intelligence at ZeniMax, stated in 2017 that the company was "the third largest game company in America" and as of 2020, ZeniMax employed over 2000 individuals.[7][8]


On September 21, 2020, Microsoft announced that it had entered into an agreement with ZeniMax, seeking to acquire the company.[9][10][11] The acquisition was finalized following EU approval on March 9, 2021.[12][13] The $8.1 billion deal was slated to return the original investment's capital more than six times over.[14][15][16] As a result of the acquisition, ZeniMax agreed that all forthcoming games will be exclusive to platforms supported by Xbox Game Pass, allowing studios to complete all existing contractual obligations.[17]



ZeniMax advisory boards dissolved following the Microsoft purchase.[27] The following individuals were previously listed on the ZeniMax website or in legal documents from 1999 to 2009.

Robert A. Altman
Chairman and CEO
Ernest Del
Christopher Weaver
Chief Technology Officer
James Leder
Chief Operating Officer
Cindy Tallent
Chief Financial Officer
J. Griffin Lesher
Vice President, Legal
Dan Harrison
Vice President, Controller
Denise Kidd
Vice President, Finance

Board of Directors[30][31]
Robert A. Altman Jerry Bruckheimer Ernest Del Michael Dominguez Todd Hollenshead James Leder J. Griffin Lesher
Leslie Moonves Cal Ripken, Jr. Mark Schneider Harry Sloan Cindy Tallent Robert Trump[32] Christopher Weaver

Operating Divisions[28][29]
Vlatko Andonov, President
Bethesda Softworks Inc.
Jonathan Moonves, President
ZeniMax Productions Inc.
Sam Simon, President, Creative
ZeniMax Productions Inc.
Douglas Frederick, President
Vir2L Studios LLC
Todd Vaughn, Vice President
ZeniMax Productions LLC
Arthur Andersen
Piper Marbury
Legal Counsel

Business advisory board[33]
Tony Coelho Dean Devlin Jon Feltheimer George Mitchell
Terry McAuliffe John Merrigan Miguel Sanchez-Nevarro Redo Paul Wilmot

Technical advisory board[34]
F. Kenton Musgrave Henry Jenkins Phillip Rubin Charles Jackson Tom DeMarco


  1. "Microsoft Bethesda Acquisition" - theverge.com
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Christopher Weaver vs ZeniMax Media" - courts.state.md.us (Archived)
  3. "Robert Altman Zenimax Media Obituary" - polygon.com (Archived)
  4. "Facing Fallout" - edge-online.com (Archived)
  5. "Fallout 3 360 bound" - gamespot.com (Archived)
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Bethesda Parent ZeniMax Acquires id Software" - gamasutra.com (Archived)
  7. @theCUBE Twitter
  8. @DCDeacon Twitter
  9. "Microsoft to buy Bethesda Studios for 7.5 billion to boost Xbox" - bloomberg.com (Archived)
  10. "Microsoft acquires Fallout creator Bethesda" - bbc.com (Archived)
  11. "Microsoft Zenimax video game deal" - nytimes.com (Archived)
  12. "Microsoft's ZeniMax Acquisition Officially Complete, Bethesda Now a Part of Xbox" - ign.com
  13. "Why Microsoft is the perfect fit" - bethesda.net
  14. "Providence Equity's Sale of ZeniMax Will Bring Lucrative End to 13-Year Deal" - wsj.com
  15. "U.S. Securities Microsoft Form 10-K 2021 June 30" - microsoft.gcs-web.com (Archived)
  17. "Microsoft's Bethesda deal was all about exclusive games for Game Pass" - theverge.com
  18. "Bethesda acquires Alpha Dog" - gamesindustry.biz (Archived)
  19. "ZeniMax Media Acquires Arkane Studios" - zenimax.com (Archived)
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 "Company Profile" - zenimax.com (Archived)
  21. "Escalation Studios Is Now Bethesda Game Studios Dallas" - variety.com (Archived)
  22. "Award-Winning Developer of Fallout 4 and Skyrim Expands Studio to Montreal" - zenimax.com (Archived)
  23. "Prey developer Human Head shuts down, is acquired by Bethesda" - polygon.com (Archived)
  24. "Tango Gameworks, led by Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami, joins ZeniMax" - bethblog.com (Archived)
  25. "ZeniMax Media Announces Establishment of Online Gaming Division, ZeniMax Online Studios" - gamesindustry.biz (Archived)
  26. "Machinegames purchased by ZeniMax Media, becomes ZeniMax Sweden" - joystiq.com (Archived)
  27. "ZeniMax Board Of Directors dissolved after Xbox's Bethesda purchase" - gamespot.com
  28. 28.0 28.1 "Management and Operating Divisions Profile" - zenimax.com (Archived)
  29. 29.0 29.1 "Management Profile" - zenimax.com (Archived)
  30. "Board of Directors Profile" - zenimax.com (Archived)
  31. "United States Securities and Exchange Commission Form D 2009 June" - sec.gov (Archived)
  32. "Owning the Territory" - gamesindustry.biz
  33. "Business Advisory Board Profile" - zenimax.com (Archived)
  34. "Technical Advisory Board Profile" - zenimax.com (Archived)