After receiving the green light from financial authorities, Microsoft announce that today they officially complete their acquisition of ZeniMax, the family of studios including Bethesda, Id Software, Arkane, and more. One immediate bit of news: more Bethesda games are coming to Xbox Game Pass this week. One bit of distant news: some future Bethesda games will indeed be exclusive to PC and Xbox.
“This is the next step in building an industry-leading first party studios team, a commitment we have to our Xbox community,” Xbox head Phil Spencer said in today’s announcement. “With the addition of the Bethesda creative teams, gamers should know that Xbox consoles, PC, and Game Pass will be the best place to experience new Bethesda games, including some new titles in the future that will be exclusive to Xbox and PC players.”
Exclusivity is an issue Microsoft previously danced around. They planned to keep prior PlayStation commitments but did suggest they might consider exclusivity for others, or at least timed exclusivity. Now, huh, yep, definitely some scloosies planned – though it’s not clear when that will start, nor with which games. Bethesda Game Studios have The Elder Scrolls 6 coming as well as mysterious new space game Starfield, and the wider Bethesda family have so many things going on.
It’s a shame. I’ve no PlayStation or Switch myself but I’ll not cheer Microsoft re-errecting the platform barriers that have been somewhat reduced in recent years. I see why it could be good for Microsoft and Xbox, but think it’s bad for video games.
Microsoft are paying $7.5 billion for Bethesda. They’re probably Microsoft’s highest-profile games purchase, above even Minecraft devs Mojang ($2.5b in 2014). Other studios snapped up in recent years include Double Fine Productions, Obisian Entertainment, Ninja Theory, and Playground Games. We should always remember the dangers of the industry consolidating, mind. It’s not even four years since Microsoft closed Fable devs Lionhead.
“Now that we’re one team, we can start working together on the future ahead,” Spencer added. “We will have more to share about what’s next for our teams later this year. In the meantime, to properly celebrate this special moment, we are bringing additional Bethesda games into Xbox Game Pass later this week.”
No word yet on which we’ll see. Mate go on, put Daggerfall on the Xbox Xeriex X Game Pass, let them figure it out.