In a megaton announcement that no one outside of the Xbox camp saw coming, Microsoft has just announced that they have acquired Zenimax, the parent company of Bethesda.
Xbox and @Bethesda have worked together for years. We share similar passions and beliefs. Proud to welcome them to Team @Xbox. Excited how we’ll advance gaming together for players everywhere https://t.co/0BcLULyFYF pic.twitter.com/2aectsejsk
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) September 21, 2020
Needless to state, this is a huge announcement as Microsoft now owns some of the biggest names in gaming with this move. DOOM, The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, not to mention the upcoming Deathloop, and currently in-development Starfield.
This deal is slated to be finalized in early 2021.
Update: Xbox’s Phil Spencer has confirmed that the existing deals regarding Bethesda’s Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo will be honored and both titles will remain PlayStation timed exclusives. As for the future of other Bethesda games, that will be handled on a case by case basis. Meaning Microsoft has not ruled out future Bethesda games heading to other platforms.
To answer the question everyone is asking: Phil Spencer tells @dinabass that Xbox plans to honor the PS5 exclusivity commitment for Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo.
Future Bethesda games will be on Xbox, PC, and "other consoles on a case by case basis." https://t.co/Agyttr53LO
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) September 21, 2020
This acquisition, which I’m surprised Microsoft was able to keep it under wraps for so long, comes to the sum of 7.5 billion in cash. Clearly, Microsoft wanted Zenimax.
Today is a special day, as we welcome some of the most accomplished studios in the games industry to Xbox. We are thrilled to announce Microsoft has entered into an agreement to acquire ZeniMax Media, parent company of Bethesda Softworks.
As one of the largest, most critically acclaimed, privately held game developers and publishers in the world, Bethesda is an incredibly talented group of 2,300 people worldwide who make up some of the most accomplished creative studios in our industry across Bethesda Softworks, Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, ZeniMax Online Studios, Arkane, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog, and Roundhouse Studios. These are the teams responsible for franchises like The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Wolfenstein, DOOM, Dishonored, Prey, Quake, Starfield and many more.
Gaming is the most expansive category in the entertainment industry, as people everywhere turn to gaming to connect, socialize and play with their friends,” said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. “Quality differentiated content is the engine behind the growth and value of Xbox Game Pass—from Minecraft to Flight Simulator. As a proven game developer and publisher, Bethesda has seen success across every category of games, and together, we will further our ambition to empower the more than three billion gamers worldwide.
This is an awesome time to be an Xbox fan. In the last 10 days alone, we’ve released details on our two new consoles which go on pre-order tomorrow, launched cloud gaming in Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, and now we’re making another investment in the most critical part of our strategy: the games,” said Phil Spencer, executive vice president, Gaming at Microsoft. “Generations of gamers have been captivated by the renowned franchises in the Bethesda portfolio and will continue to be so for years to come as part of Xbox.
Some important things to point out with this. Now, Microsoft owns two of the largest Western RPG studios, with Bethesda and Obsidian, along with Inxile. This also can be considered the first major acquisition of a 3rd party company, now becoming a 1st party company. Meaning, the gloves are off and we could see other companies such as Sony, going after the larger 3rd party companies. Can you see Square Enix or Capcom going to Sony? If this happens, gamers will be the ones who suffer as they’ll need to have specific platforms to play their favorite IPs/games.
The Zenimax/Bethesda acquisition makes this the 23rd company that Micorosft has acquired.
This also could mean, that games that were once multiplatform such as Skyrim, DOOM, and others, may not make appearances on other platforms. Now, this deal is still early and we don’t know the specifics, but here’s to hoping that Xbox will still allow these IPs, which are some are the largest names in gaming, to be playable on platforms outside of the Microsoft/Xbox ecosystem.
When it comes to Xbox Game Pass, all first-party games come to the service on the day of launch. This means all upcoming Bethesda games will be available on Xbox Game Pass. That’s just more added value to the service.
Lastly, I wonder if we’ll see some changes at Bethesda. Traditionally when Microsoft acquired a company, they didn’t make any changes to the company and let them operate as they were before the acquisition. However, Bethesda hasn’t exactly been on the up and up, as many of you have either heard or seen. Could we see some personnel changes at the company as a result of this?
I know some will see this as a good move but I’m fearful of what this means later down the road.
This story is developing…