ZeniMax Media

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ZeniMax corporate logo.

ZeniMax Media is a holding company founded in 1999 to serve as the parent company for Bethesda Softworks. Since then, it has created or acquired several other video game studios, including id Software on June 24, 2009.

Among the consequences of this acquisition, the distribution rights for the Doom games went from Activision to Bethesda Softworks; this resulted in the Xbox 360 port of The Ultimate Doom to be temporarily delisted from the XBLA market place, as it was originally published there by Activision. It has also created complications in the licensing and distribution of products owned by Activision but previously published by id, such as the Portal of Praevus expansion for Hexen II.

In interviews[1], John Carmack and Todd Hollenshead listed several reasons why they accepted ZeniMax's offer:

  • Financial: the "safety net" provided by a parent company would allow the studio to accommodate better the longer development times of modern games, notably by permitting it to hire more staff so as to have two and eventually three development teams at once.
  • Publishing: by becoming part of the ZeniMax family, id Software obtains Bethesda Softworks as their dedicated publisher, instead of having to negotiate publishing rights with unaffiliated companies such as Electronic Arts or Activision. Furthermore, Bethesda's game production focuses on action RPGs and therefore does not compete with id Software's shooter specialty. Other publishers have their own in-house game studios which develop third person shooters competing with id's offer, and it is therefore in these publishers' interest to focus their marketing effort more on their own productions.
  • Marketing: Carmack cited the successful launch of Fallout 3 as what he hoped ZeniMax and Bethesda would bring to his games.

External links[edit]


  1. Gamasutra interview with John Carmack and Pete Hines
id Software
Doom era
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Doom 3 era
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ZeniMax era
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