|Industry||Video game industry|
|Headquarters||Rockville, Maryland, U.S.|
|Total equity||US$2.5 billion (2016)|
Number of employees
ZeniMax Media Inc. is an American media company that develops and publishes video games through its subsidiaries. ZeniMax is known for being the owner of Arkane Studios (developer of Dishonored and Prey), BattleCry Studios (developer of BattleCry), id Software (developer of Doom series, Quake series and Rage), MachineGames (developer of Wolfenstein series), Tango Gameworks (developer of The Evil Within), Bethesda Softworks (developer and publisher of The Elder Scrolls series and Fallout series) and ZeniMax Online Studios. ZeniMax is headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, with offices in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.
ZeniMax is partly owned by private equity firm Providence Equity Partners and German Mass media company ProSiebenSat.1 Media. Providence invested $300 million in ZeniMax in 2007 in exchange for a 25% ownership stake, and an additional $150 million in 2010 for an undisclosed amount of shares, now owning a minority stake in the company. ProSiebenSat.1 Media owns a 6.83% stake in ZeniMax as of December 31, 2015.
ZeniMax Media was founded in May 1999 by Bethesda Softworks founder Christopher Weaver and Robert A. Altman. ZeniMax was established as a successor company to Media Technology, Bethesda's parent company at the time.
Weaver brought Altman on board as CEO, contributing his stock in Bethesda Softworks so that the new shell company, named ZeniMax Media, would be able to obtain funding. Weaver served initially as Chief Technology Officer of the company from 1999–2002, then moved to a non-operational role in 2002. Weaver later filed a lawsuit against ZeniMax in 2002, claiming he was ousted by his new business partners after giving them access to his brand and was owed US$1.2 million in severance pay when ZeniMax didn't renew his employment contract. In the end the case was dropped out of court, because Weaver was going through emails of the other employees to find evidence for his case.
In 2004, ZeniMax Media acquired the Fallout franchise from Interplay Entertainment. Bethesda's Todd Howard said in January 2007 that "We started work on Fallout 3 in late 2004 with a few people. We only had about 10 people on it until Oblivion wrapped (...)". Fallout 3 was released in October 2008.
On August 1, 2007, ZeniMax Media announced the creation of ZeniMax Online Studios, a division headed by Matt Firor. In 2012, the company announced that it was developing The Elder Scrolls Online, ultimately releasing it on April 4, 2014.
On October 30, 2007, ZeniMax Media announced that European broadcasting group ProSiebenSat.1 Media was intensifying its relationship with ZeniMax. It launched SevenGames.com, the international version of its German game platform, in December and work with ZeniMax to develop online games. ProSiebenSat.1 Media held a 9% stake in ZeniMax at the time through SBS Broadcasting, which it acquired the same year. SBS Broadcasting previously acquired a 12.5% stake in ZeniMax in October 2000 as part of the partnership between the two companies at the time. This included ZeniMax's e-Nexus Studios subsidiary, developing European entertainment portals and web sites for SBS, as well as other stock purchase agreements between SBS and ZeniMax.
On October 6, 2010, ZeniMax Media received $150 million private investment in convertible preferred stock from Providence Equity Partners. Providence had earlier invested US$300 million in ZeniMax convertible preferred stock in 2007.
On March 3, 2011, ZeniMax Media announced a partnership with the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts to support its Interactive Media Division with a comprehensive educational program of guest lectures and internships.
In May 2014, ZeniMax Media, sent a letter to Facebook and Oculus VR asserting that any contributions that John Carmack made to the Oculus Rift project are the intellectual property of ZeniMax, stating that "ZeniMax provided necessary VR technology and other valuable assistance to Palmer Luckey and other Oculus employees in 2012 and 2013 to make the Oculus Rift a viable VR product, superior to other VR market offerings."
On May 21, 2014, ZeniMax Media filed a lawsuit against Oculus VR. On June 25, 2014, Oculus VR filed an official response to the lawsuit. Oculus claimed ZeniMax Media was falsely claiming ownership to take advantage of the acquisition by Facebook. Oculus also claimed that the Oculus Rift did not share a single line of code or any technology with ZeniMax's code and technology. The lawsuit between ZeniMax and Facebook began in January 2017.
ZeniMax's Board of Directors consists of eight individuals:
- Robert A. Altman (Chairman and CEO, ZeniMax Media Inc.)
- Ernest Del (President, ZeniMax Media Inc.)
- Jerry Bruckheimer (Jerry Bruckheimer Films)
- Michael Dominguez (Managing director, Providence Equity Partners Inc.)
- Leslie Moonves (President and CEO, CBS Corporation)
- Cal Ripken Jr. (President and CEO, Ripken Baseball, Inc.)
- Harry E. Sloan (Chairman and CEO, Global Eagle Holdings, LLC)
- Robert S. Trump (President, Trump Management, Inc.)
- Bethesda Softworks in Rockville, Maryland, acquired in 1999.
- ZeniMax Online Studios in Hunt Valley, Maryland, founded in 2007.
- id Software in Richardson, Texas, acquired in June 2009.
- Arkane Studios in Lyon, France, acquired in August 2010.
- Arkane Studios Austin in Austin, Texas, acquired in August 2010.
- Tango Gameworks in Tokyo, Japan, acquired in October 2010.
- MachineGames in Uppsala, Sweden, acquired in November 2010.
- BattleCry Studios in Austin, Texas, founded in October 2012.
- e-Nexus Studios, headed by former The Simpsons co-creator Sam Simon.
- XL Translab, acquired in 1997 by Bethesda Softworks, defunct date unknown.
- Vir2L Studios in Washington, D.C., acquired in 1999, closed in 2010.
- Mud Duck Productions, founded in 2002, closed in 2007.
- Flashpoint Productions in Olympia, Washington, acquired in 1995 by Bethesda Softworks, defuct date unknown.
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