Six months after the proposed acquisition was announced, Microsoft now owns Zenimax Media, a video game holding company that, in addition to Bethesda, owns id Software, Arkane Studios, and MachineGames, to name a few. The $7.5 billion acquisition comes less than six months after it was announced.
The reason it took so long was that the acquisition required approval from the European Commission as several of the studios are headquartered in Europe.
Head of the Xbox brand, Phil Spencer, wrote in a post on Xbox Wire, “some titles in the future…will be exclusive to Xbox and PC players.” However, Spencer didn’t specify which games will be exclusives or when they’ll go to the Xbox Series X and the PC.
Regarding the PS5’s Bethesda exclusives, Microsoft said it will honor those exclusivity commitments for Deathloop and GhostWire: Tokyo.
With this deal, Microsoft’s collection of first-party studios now jumps to 23, joining the likes of Rare, Mojang Studios, and Double Fine Productions. And like Mojang, Bethesda is going to remain in control and run as its own business with Spencer stating, “We look forward to empowering Bethesda’s creative team to reach even more players around the world…”
I still 100% believe Elder Scrolls 6 will release on PS5. I'm certain it will. https://t.co/SBi5wY6BxB
Bethesda will maintain autonomy in the deal. pic.twitter.com/NDoFJ1U0hT
— RoninStrife "The Ghost" of Tsushima (@RoninStrife) October 29, 2020
Bethesda’s Chief of Marketing, Pete Hines, reiterated Spencer’s point by saying, “…our studios will continue as we have in the past, just with more support and resources than we’ve ever had before.”
Focusing on Game Pass
With this new deal, it appears that Microsoft will focus on Xbox Game Pass and xCloud in order to give players day-one access to new games and not on definite console exclusives. Spencer is skeptical regarding console exclusives, calling the practice a “weaponizing of exclusive games.”
In an interview with Gamereactor, Spencer admits selling games on the PC does undermine Xbox sales but he views this PC gamer as “somebody who is logging in and playing a part of our ecosystem, whether first-party or third-party.”
Future of Gaming
Microsoft is rumored to be holding a “future of gaming” event on March 23rd, as was first leaked by renowned Microsoft insider, Paul Thurrott.
Fans and gaming pundits have speculated this could be a good opportunity for Microsoft to talk about the future of Bethesda, id Software, and all of the other gaming studios it purchased.
Microsoft is apparently holding a "what's new for gaming" event on March 23.
To be followed by a "what's new for Windows" event! No date yet.
— Paul Thurrott (@thurrott) February 26, 2021
No other concrete details have been leaked or announced but doing a live stream of this nature would do well to address concerns and questions.
Bethesda posted a retrospective video on their Twitter and noted that a “new chapter has begun” for the company. Besthesda vows to stay true to its roots and “the vision that inspired it all.”
Here’s to the next journey only now getting started.
— Bethesda (@bethesda) March 9, 2021
Personally, what sticks out in my mind the most is what Phil Spencer said about gamers logging into their “ecosystem” and being okay with PC undermining Xbox sales. To me, it seems Microsoft is interested in having an “Xbox environment” via multiple platforms instead of pooling everything into one console. It’s ambitious.
So, what do you think of this news? Excited? Skeptical? I’d love to hear your thoughts.