The news made many players happy (and some worried). Microsoft buys Bethesda and its parent, ZeniMax, for $7,5 billion, bringing it to Xbox. This includes some franchises like Doom, Fallout and The Elder Scrolls. But as part of the acquisition news, companies also recalled that original games like Starfield are available on the Game Pass after launch.
That price makes this the second most expensive video game acquisition in history, behind Tencent's acquisition of Finnish developer Supercell for $ 8,6 billion in 2016, and several times higher than Microsoft's acquisition of Mojang in 2014, which cost $ 2,5 billion. It is not surprising, given the size of ZeniMax and its long list of properties.
Bethesda's announcement specifically mentions Starfield:
“Microsoft will grow from 15 to 23 creative studio teams and will add iconic Bethesda franchises to the Xbox Game Pass. This includes Microsoft's intention to bring future Bethesda games to the Xbox Game Pass the same day they are released on Xbox or PC, as Starfield, the new space epic game under development by Bethesda Game Studios. ”-- Advertising --
Todd Howard shared his thoughts on Microsoft's acquisition of Bethesda's parent company Zenimax. On a blog published this afternoon, the director of Fallout and Elder Scrolls said that Microsoft would help to share the "studio's deep belief in the fundamental power of games".
In his post, Howard describes Microsoft as "the oldest and closest partner" and says that the Xbox and Bethesda paths "in many ways have gone hand in hand". Microsoft started developing its first console in 1999, the same year that Bethesda joined ZeniMax Media. Howard says he doubted to bring his next game, Morrowind, to the new platform, but finally understood the Xbox team - “shouldn't we allow anyone to have this experience? Why does it matter where the screen is or which controller is it? “
The press release makes no specific mention of Elder Scrolls 6, which Todd Howard said is still a long way off, but the precedent set by other original games suggests that it will come to the Game Pass as well. It also means that current ZeniMax games like Doom Eternal and Fallout 76 are likely to make it to the Game Pass or stay in service forever. Any sequences from these or many other company franchises will arrive on the Game Pass as well.
A note from Todd Howard, also noted that Starfield and Elder Scrolls 6 will benefit from some major technological changes in the studio. These two games, and possibly others, will use what he calls “the biggest engine overhaul since Oblivion”. No date has been set for any of the games.
Microsoft also noted in its announcement that Game Pass subscriptions have increased to 15 million users. It's a large number of monthly subscribers to your game subscription, even without the extra games that come with the purchase. But, clearly, the Xbox Game Pass is the key to the acquisition of Bethesda.
The Game Pass is also included in the payment plans for All Access when purchasing the console, which may have another big boost when pre-ordering the Xbox X Series and S Series.
Microsoft Purchase Bethesda: Learn Acquisition Details
That doesn't exactly mean 'Xbox exclusivity' for the games that will come from this partnership. Microsoft is now linked to some important names. Like The Elder Scrolls, Fallout and Bethesda's next game, Starfield, the company owns the rights to Doom, Dishonored and Wolfenstein. But what Howard implied in his statement is that the future of these games will not be tied to a single platform. That said, Microsoft is unlikely to have paid $ 7,5 billion to share these franchises with PlayStation users, as well as this could be a big boost to Microsoft's sale to new generation consoles.
Bethesda is a multiplatform publisher, but this acquisition puts the future of the company's games on other consoles at risk. Some of your upcoming games have already been announced for multiple platforms, but the next Elder Scrolls? The next Fallout? We can see them only on PC and Xbox.
There appear to be two current exceptions to this agreement, as the Xbox will be honoring the PS5 exclusive deals for Arkane's Deathloop and Tango Gameworks: Tokyo's Ghostwire. Once these deals are over, however, it seems very possible that these games will be brought to the new Microsoft consoles and, as well, to the Game Pass and PC.
Here is the list of studios that come with the acquisition, which has about 2.300 people, along with some of their best-known games:
- Alpha Dog Games (mobile games)
- Arkane Studios (Dishonored)
- Arkane Studios Austin
- Bethesda Game Studios (Skyrim, Fallout 3, Fallout 4)
- Bethesda Game Studios Austin (Fallout 76)
- Bethesda Game Studios in Dallas
- Bethesda Game Studios Montreal
- Bethesda Softworks
- ID Software (Doom, Doom Eternal)
- MachineGames (current Wolfenstein series)
- Roundhouse Studios (Rune 2)
- Tango Gameworks (The Evil Within, Ghostwire: Tokyo)
- ZeniMax Online Studios (The Elder Scrolls Online, Fallout 76)
Well, Microsoft just got its hands on some of the best studios and technology in the industry. The ramifications will undoubtedly be enormous. Xbox Game Studios now has Bethesda and Obsidian on the team. Did the stars finally line up for a New Vegas 2 or a remake? It is not yet clear what will come of the acquisition, at least with regard to new games, but Spencer mentions the "many unannounced games" that Bethesda is preparing.
As we wait for the fruits of the partnership, more Bethesda games will be coming to Xbox Game Pass, both for console and PC. Some, like Fallout 76, were already available, but we can assume that in the future Bethesda games will start appearing on the service at launch.
Will we have some amazing new games announced soon? Continuations and remakes? What do you expect from this Microsoft acquisition? Without a doubt it was a very smart acquisition.