In what is one of the biggest video game acquisitions ever, Microsoft has acquired Zenimax Media, the parent company of Bethesda for $7.5 billion. This acquisition sees them pick up an additional eight studios, including: Arkane, MachineGames, ZenimaxOnline, Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, Tango Softworks, Alpha Dog, and Roundhouse Studios. This puts game franchises like Wolfenstein, DOOM, Elder Scrolls, and more in Microsoft’s hands.
Currently, there are two titles (Deathloop and Ghostwire Tokyo) confirmed to have timed exclusivity for Playstation 5. According to an interview with Bloomberg, Phil Spencer says the company intends to honor those exclusivity contracts. However, when it comes to future games, it will be on a “case by case basis”.
This could go any number of ways, as there are some games which will become cross-gen like Elder Scrolls Online, and Microsoft likely won’t want to stop players from upgrading to whatever console they choose to continue playing the game. But with other games, it remains more up in the air, as it depends on how they see Xbox Game Pass. If GamePass is truly the thing they prioritize over selling Xbox consoles, then it’s possible they will offer major Bethesda titles on Playstation consoles, pointing out that GamePass will allow players to play them for much cheaper on an Xbox.
However, if they’re actually still aiming to sell Xbox consoles, then it’s more likely that a major title like The Elder Scrolls VI or Starfield will be exclusive to Xbox, while other titles might be ported to Nintendo Switch, as both Xbox and Bethesda have had friendly relations with them as of late.
Todd Howard, director and executive producer of Bethesda Game Studios, has already issued a statement on the company joining Xbox:
“Like our original partnership, this one is about more than one system or one screen. We share a deep belief in the fundamental power of games, in their ability to connect, empower, and bring joy. And a belief we should bring that to everyone – regardless of who you are, where you live, or what you play on. Regardless of the screen size, the controller, or your ability to even use one.
We can’t think of a better group of people to do that with than those at Xbox. 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.”