Microsoft Buys Bethesda, the World

File this under Holy Shit, Batman:

Today is a special day, as we welcome some of the most accomplished studios in the games industry to Xbox. We are thrilled to announce Microsoft has entered into an agreement to acquire ZeniMax Media, parent company of Bethesda Softworks.

As one of the largest, most critically acclaimed, privately held game developers and publishers in the world, Bethesda is an incredibly talented group of 2,300 people worldwide who make up some of the most accomplished creative studios in our industry across Bethesda Softworks, Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, ZeniMax Online Studios, Arkane, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog, and Roundhouse Studios. These are the teams responsible for franchises like The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Wolfenstein, DOOM, Dishonored, Prey, Quake, Starfield and many more.

As it says, Microsoft is buying ZeniMax and all its subsidiaries, of which Bethesda is a part. Among other things, this means that Starfield, Elder Scrolls 6, Fallout 5, etc, will be coming to Game Pass on Day 1. That link also indicates the deal was for $7.5 billion. Which is like… 3.5 Minecrafts.

Another amusing detail is that Bethesda and Obsidian are going to be under the same roof again. Perhaps there could be another New Vegas-esque collaboration? Obsidian are good storytellers when they don’t have to build worlds from scratch. When they do, we get garbage like Outer Worlds.

What else could this mean? Well… since Microsoft is going all-in with the Game Pass, there’s a remote chance that Bethesda-specific subscriptions get rolled into Game Pass itself. For example, Fallout 76 has the Fallout 1st subscription and then there’s Elder Scrolls Online’s sub. Like I mentioned yesterday, Game Pass doesn’t include everything, like DLCs and such. That said, EA Play’s subscription is getting rolled into Game Pass for no extra charge. So who knows?

Overall, I am extremely excited. I feel the same way currently as I did way back in the day, when the first few Steam sales started. I hated that Valve was forcing me to download Steam just to play Half-Life 2 and otherwise jump through a lot of hoops. Then once the sales started, it all clicked that this was the future. Well, the future is happening again. And now instead a future heralding the sale of horse armor, we get a timeline where you can play AAA games on Day 1 for $4.99 $9.99/month.

Posted on September 22, 2020, in Commentary and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Let’s hope they don’t do another Age of Empires and decide they don’t want to make games anymore and just shut all the studios down.


  2. The question is whether you will be able to play those games anywhere else. Does Microsoft pay 7.5 billion without getting exclusives out of the deal?


    • It’s a great question. According to this article – with the amusing byline of “Did Microsoft pay $7.5 billion just to start making PS5 games?” – future Bethesda titles will be considered on multiple platforms “on a case by case basis.” Could be exclusives, could be timed exclusives, could be anything. Everything in the current pipeline will not be affected, supposedly.

      As an pretty much exclusive PC gamer, this is good news for me, as Microsoft’s version of exclusive these days means Xbox and PC. I could see Playstation & Bethesda fans having less of a good time with this news. In particular, Elder Scrolls 6 could be rough if it is even a timed exclusive.

      On the other hand, I’m still over here waiting for FF7 Remake so… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


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