Did anyone see this coming? Microsoft has announced that it has acquired ZeniMax Media and its legendary subsidiaries, which include the likes of Bethesda Game Studios (Fallout, The Elder Scrolls), id Software (DOOM), Arkane Studios (Dishonored), Tango Gameworks (The Evil Within), and MachineGames (Wolfenstein) in a deal worth $7.5 billion. So much for the Xbox having “no games,” right?
“Today is a special day, as we welcome some of the most accomplished studios in the games industry to Xbox,” wrote Xbox head Phil Spencer. “We are thrilled to announce Microsoft has entered into an agreement to acquire ZeniMax Media, parent company of Bethesda Softworks.”
“Bethesda’s games have always had a special place on Xbox and in the hearts of millions of gamers around the world,” he noted. “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.”
What this acquisition seems to boil down to is that future installments of DOOM, Fallout, Elder Scrolls, and other epic franchises will only be available to play on Windows 10 and Xbox. That’s a particularly welcome prospect for Game Pass subscribers, who will be able to enjoy Starfield, The Elder Scrolls VI, and other hyped sequels on day one without having to pay full price.
“We will be adding Bethesda’s iconic franchises to Xbox Game Pass for console and PC,” Spencer confirmed. “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.”
Bethesda’s Pete Hines (SVP of PR & Marketing) and Todd Howard (Chief Software Engineer) have also published their thoughts on the acquisition. They seem pretty happy about the new partnership, pointing out their previous history with Microsoft and how well the companies have gotten along so far.
“So why the change?,” Hines questioned. “Because it allows us to make even better games going forward. Microsoft is an incredible partner and offers access to resources that will make us a better publisher and developer. We believe that means better games for you to play. Simply put – we believe that change is an important part of getting better. We believe in pushing ourselves to be better. To innovate. To grow.”
“We can’t think of a better group of people to do that with than those at Xbox,” Howard said. “We have friendships that go back to those original days. From Phil to his senior leaders to developer support, they don’t just talk about putting players first, they passionately live it.”