Microsoft dropped a pretty big bombshell this morning, the day before Xbox Series X/S consoles go up for pre-order. The company announced that they are buying ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks for a whopping $7.5 billion in cash. Bethesda makes games like The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Wolfenstein, and the upcoming Starfield. Other developers that ZeniMax own include id Software (Doom, Quake), Arkane Studios (Dishonored, Prey, Deathloop), Tango Gameworks (The Evil Within), Alpha Dog (Wraithborne), Roundhouse Studios, and MachineWorks.
As you can see, the acquisition covers some pretty popular franchises. This is huge news for Xbox gamers as it means that future Bethesda releases will join Xbox Game Pass on the day of launch, much like the Halo, Gears, and Forza franchises. This definitely adds to the value of Xbox Game Pass (which currently has over 15 million subscribers), which is already a fantastic deal for gamers.
But what does it mean for other consoles? Will Bethesda games still come to the PlayStation 5 and the Nintendo Switch? While making upcoming games Xbox console exclusive to bolster their exclusive game lineup, there are already a couple of PlayStation 5 exclusive Bethesda games in the works: Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo. According to Bloomberg, Microsoft will be honoring these exclusivity agreements.
As the above tweet indicates, future games from the publisher will be “on a case by case basis.” It’ll be interesting to see how this all plays out as this is a huge move by Microsoft.