It’s official. Microsoft now owns ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks (and also id Software, makers of DooM). In fact, this acquisition adds a full eight more game studios to Microsoft’s roster.
What does this mean for Xbox and Windows users? And what doesn’t it mean for people on Switch and PlayStation?
Well, first, the good news. It seems that Bethesda’s catalogue is likely to be added to Xbox Game Pass, making those brilliant games free to play for subscribers. When potential titles include such things as Skyrim and the Fallout series, that’s definitely great news.
But then what does this mean for Bethesda fans on other platforms? There’s little doubt that Microsoft has the full intention of making some games Xbox and Windows exclusives—after all, you don’t pay $7.5 BILLION for a games developer and then not leverage that asset as best you can. With their new game Starfield currently the most anticipated output from the studio, it looks like Sony and Nintendo fans are about to miss out on this amazing-looking space epic RPG.
There’s a good chance that other games are unaffected. The Elder Scrolls 6, set to be another RPG titan, was announced while Bethesda was still independent, and they are likely to keep their promise that it will be released on all major platforms—that, at least, will quell some fears.
As to what’s going on behind the scenes? Only time will tell. Is there a new groundbreaking technology in the background that Microsoft simply had to have? That $7.5BN is a huge number, and even with the significant weight of the Bethesda back catalogue to capitalise on, it still seems extreme. It seems likely that they know something we don’t, which makes this acquisition definitely one worth keeping an eye on.