Microsoft has revealed it’s entering into an agreement to buy ZeniMax Media, one of the video game industry’s largest independent game publishers, for $7.5 billion USD (about $9.9 billion CAD).
ZeniMax’s stable of studios, which includes id Software, Arkane Studios and Bethesda, are behind iconic video game franchises like Doom, Wolfenstein, Quake, Fallout and The Elder Scrolls.
In a recent Xbox blog post, Phil Spencer, the head of all things Xbox at Microsoft, says this will mean more Bethesda titles are coming to Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass for console and PC soon. This adds even more value to the already impressive game subscription platform.
“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,” said Spencer.
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
Given that Microsoft’s Xbox console line lacks exclusive titles when compared to Sony’s PlayStation systems, this is definitely a good move for the tech giant. That said, it’s unclear if Microsoft actually aims to make future entries in the series exclusive to its Xbox console.
For example, the company purchased Minecraft back in 2014 for $2.5 billion USD (about $3.3 billion CAD) and continued to release the game across all major video game consoles, including the PlayStation 4. While it’s still unclear, given the amount of money Microsoft is paying for ZeniMax, at least some future titles will presumably be exclusive to Xbox and PC. With that in mind, Microsoft has confirmed that future Bethesda games will come to Game Pass on Xbox and PX, including Starfield.
Bloomberg has confirmed that Xbox still plans to honour the PlayStation 5 exclusivity commitment for Arkane’s Deathloop and Tango Gameworks’ Ghostwire: Tokyo. It’s likely that once the exclusive period is over, both games will be released on the Xbox Series X and Series S .
“We’re still working on the same games we were yesterday, made by the same studios we’ve worked with for years, and those games will be published by us,” said Bethesda marketing head Pete Hines in a recent statement.
Microsoft’s upcoming Xbox Series X and Series S are set to release on November 10th for $599 and $379, respectively.
Update 21/09/2020: The story has been updated with more information regarding Microsoft confirming it will still release Deathloop and Chostwire: Tokyo as timed PlayStation 5 exclusive.
Source: Microsoft, Bethesda, Bloomberg