Microsoft came out this morning, the day before Xbox Series X/S pre-orders go live, and dropped a bomb… the company is buying ZeniMax Media and that includes Bethesda.
The deal, expected to formally close in the second half of 2021, will see Microsoft pay $7.5 billion for ZeniMax Media and all the companies that come with it; Bethesda Softworks, Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, ZeniMax Online Studios, Arkane, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog, and Roundhouse Studios.
This brings some big name franchises under the Xbox umbrella; Elder Scrolls, Fallout, DOOM, Wolfenstein, Quake, Dishonored, the highly anticipated Starfield, and others.
You can read what Head of Xbox Phil Spencer has to say about the acquisition here.
You can also read a note from Bethesda SVP of PR & Marketing Pete Hines here.
This will bring all the Bethesda games people love to Xbox Games Pass on day one, making Elder Scrolls VI, Starfield and the others free for Game Pass subscribers.
Smith’s Sentiment: Lot of people freaking out about this shocking development. Mostly from folks wondering what this means for anticipated games and beloved franchises going forward on PlayStation. Some insist that you don’t spend $7.5 billion and not make the games exclusive. I don’t think PlayStation fans need to worry about it though. This isn’t the same dumb Xbox from a decade ago.
Logic says you don’t pay $7.5 billion to buy all this, hundreds of millions more to develop these games, and then give them away for free to everyone who subscribes to Game Pass. Not when there’s another console around with millions of players that will pay $60 to $100 for those games individually. This will definitely be a Mojang type situation where the games will still release on other platforms and Microsoft can effectively get money from folks playing on PlayStation.
I definitely wouldn’t be surprised to see timed exclusives, but anyone thinking this means Elder Scrolls VI or Starfield will only ever be on PC/Xbox is insane.