Microsoft just dropped an unexpected bombshell of an announcement a day before the Xbox Series X/S pre-orders are set to go live. Microsoft has announced that they’ve reached an agreement to purchase ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda.
This means that Microsoft now has ownership over studios like Bethesda Game Studios, iD Software, Arkane Studios, and many more. This also means Xbox now owns the IPs for all of Bethesda’s published titles such as Fallout, DOOM, Starfield, Wolfenstein, and of course The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim.
Most if not all of Bethesda titles will be coming to Xbox Game Pass in the near future, which is now up to 15 million subscribers. As for exclusivity, Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer has told Bloomberg that “Xbox plans to honor the PS5 exclusivity commitment for Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo”. All Future Bethesda titles will be on Xbox and PC, other consoles will be evaluated on a case by case basis.
Phil Spencer shed a lot more light on this acquisition in a blog post on the Xbox Wire.
Head of Xbox, Phil SpencerBethesda’s games have always had a special place on Xbox and in the hearts of millions of gamers around the world. Our teams have a close and storied history working together, from the amazing first DOOM, and its id Tech engine, innovating games on PCs to Bethesda bringing their first console game to the original Xbox, the groundbreaking The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. Over the years I’ve had many deep conversations with the creative leaders at Bethesda on the future of gaming and we’ve long shared similar visions for the opportunities for creators and their games to reach more players in more ways.
Just as they took the bold first steps to bring The Elder Scrolls franchise to the original Xbox, Bethesda were early supporters of Xbox Game Pass, bringing their games to new audiences across devices and have been actively investing in new gaming technology like cloud streaming of games. We will be adding Bethesda’s iconic franchises to Xbox Game Pass for console and PC. One of the things that has me most excited is seeing the roadmap with Bethesda’s future games, some announced and many unannounced, to Xbox console and PC including Starfield, the highly anticipated, new space epic currently in development by Bethesda Game Studios.
Like us, Bethesda are passionate believers in building a diverse array of creative experiences, in exploring new game franchises, and in telling stories in bold ways. All of their great work will of course continue and grow and we look forward to empowering them with the resources and support of Microsoft to scale their creative visions to more players in new ways for you.
All of our work, and the foundation of our relationship with you, starts with a commitment to deliver a breadth of amazing games to discover and play on Xbox. Over the last few weeks, we’ve been excited to share more detail on important elements of a plan we’ve been building towards for years. A plan that is the fulfilment of a promise, to you the Xbox player, to deliver the most performant, immersive and compatible next-generation gaming experiences, and the freedom to play blockbuster games with your friends, anytime, anywhere. Today is a landmark step in our journey together and I’m incredibly energized by what this step means for Xbox.
We’ve had PlayStation acquisition studios like Insomniac Games and Xbox acquire studios like Ninja Theory, but an acquisition of this magnitude hasn’t been seen in the gaming industry. Bethesda is right up there with Rockstar, Activision, and many more as the top publishers in the industry and now Xbox owns them.