In a landmark announcement, head of Xbox, Phil Spencer revealed that Microsoft has entered into an agreement to purchase Bethesda Softworks and its studios for 7.5 billion dollars. With one day to go before Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S pre-orders open, this announcement has sent shock-waves throughout the video game industry.
Bethesda Softworks is one of the largest privately held video game developers and publishers in the world. It is made up of approximately 2300 people worldwide across several studios including Bethesda Softworks, Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, ZeniMax Online Studios, Arkane, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog and Roundhouse Studios.
These studios make some of the most critically acclaimed games in the industry such as DOOM, Fallout, The Elder Scrolls, Wolfenstein, Prey, Dishonored, Quake and many more. Bethesda were early supporters of Xbox Game Pass and now with future Bethesda games, they will come to Xbox Game Pass on day one.
How will exclusives be handled?
So what does this mean for previously announced Bethesda games for other gaming platforms like the PlayStation 5? Phil Spencer said that Xbox will honour Bethesda exclusive contracts that were made before the acquisition. That means games like Deathloop and GhostWire: Tokyo will still be coming to PlayStation 5.
However, future releases will be on a case-by-case basis. Although Deathloop and GhostWire: Tokyo were never announced for Xbox, it’s probable that they will come at some point. Though, we don’t know when.
At this point we don’t know what will happen to future games in Bethesda’s bigger AAA franchises such as DOOM, Fallout, and The Elder Scrolls. It’s quite possible that these could become exclusive to Xbox. Or, we could possibly see timed exclusivity for Xbox before coming to other platforms. In any case, the Bethesda Softworks acquisition is a win-win situation for Xbox.
With Bethesda Softworks, Xbox Game Studios grows to 23 in-house studios
With this recent acquisition, the in-house first party Xbox Game Studios has grown from 15 to 23 development studios. These include the likes of 343 Industries, Mojang Studios, Rare, Turn 10 Studios, The Coalition, Playground Games and more. Just last week, Xbox announced this fall EA Play will be a part of Xbox Game Pass. And, added game streaming to the service via Project xCloud.
In addition, new numbers out today show that Xbox Game Pass membership has grown rapidly over the last 6 months. There are now over 15 million subscribers! The leadership at Xbox has taken the criticism it has received in recent years and made some major changes. As a result, Xbox is now looking very good going into the next-generation.
Xbox now has the most powerful next-generation console, Xbox Series X, and the most affordable one as well, Xbox Series S. What do you think of Xbox’s acquisition of Bethesda Softworks? Let me know in the comments section below.