In an absolutely massive move by Xbox Game Studios, Microsoft has entered an agreement to acquire ZeniMax Media, including Bethesda. ZeniMax Media is the owner of Bethesda, bringing over a massive portfolio of published franchises alongside of course, Bethesda Game Studios. For the next generation and beyond, Microsoft will publish Bethesda franchises.
What that means for previously announced Bethesda titles remains to be seen. The likes of Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VI are announced in some capacity, but no platforms detailed. Games like this are likely to become Xbox exclusive on the console side of things. Of course, PC releases will remain unaffected given Microsoft’s increased support for PC games.
In a blog post, Head of Xbox Phil Spencer revealed some of the details of the acquisition. Spencer reeled off a bunch of Bethesda series’ and studios, that Microsoft will now roll into Xbox Game Studios, including the likes of Doom and The Elder Scrolls, and their respective developers. “We will be adding Bethesda’s iconic franchises to Xbox Game Pass for console and PC.” said Spencer. This is a bold statement that further enhances the Game Pass platform.
Caught in a loop
One strange side effect to this story is the fate of Deathloop. Deathloop is Arkane Studio’s next new franchise, (creators of Dishonored) and currently has a PS5 timed exclusivity period in place. This may now be ripped up in favor of a simultaneous launch on all platforms. Or, it may even be removed from PlayStation’s line-up entirely. We’d expect it to at least release there though, as the likes of The Outer Worlds from Obsidian Entertainment still launched on other systems after Xbox picked the studio up.
This news comes a day before pre-orders open up for the pair of new Xbox consoles. Microsoft will be hoping this $7.5 billion move entices people to chose their platform for the next generation. Thankfully for PC users, things will likely remain unaffected, but Game Pass will become an even more enticing proposition.