Microsoft rocked the gaming world on Monday with news it made a massive purchase of the parent company of publisher Bethesda — maker of games the Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Doom. The all-cash deal announced on Monday will see ZeniMax Media acquired by Microsoft, with Bethesda joining Xbox Game Studios.
According to a Microsoft announcement on Monday, the $7.5 billion deal is done and will have an immediate impact on video games. It’s a seismic shift in the gaming industry that has a lot of wrinkles and new possibilities, but first and foremost is a move framed by Microsoft as a way to bolster Xbox Game Pass ahead of the release of two new next-gen consoles this fall. Microsoft pointed out in a release that Xbox Game Pass currently has more than 15 million subscribers, and the acquisition of Bethesda brings with it the “intent” to include future Bethesda games on Xbox Game Pass right on launch day.
It’s unclear if those titles — potentially including future Fallout or Elder Scrolls sequels — will be timed Xbox/PC exclusives or how releases of what are now Xbox Studio games will work. Microsoft now has 23 different studios working under its Xbox catalog, with 2,300 employees getting added to the company in the deal. At least one game, Starfield, was mentioned as under development by Bethesda and will presumably be the first to release on Game Pass like Microsoft teased.
Thinking more long-term, the various things made possible by the deal are far more widespread, including great news for Fallout fans as pointed out by Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier.
Some fun facts:
– This is 3x what Microsoft paid for Minecraft/Mojang
– Bethesda and Obsidian are now sister studios. Fallout New Vegas 2 is now actually a possibility
– Microsoft is now releasing two timed PS5 exclusives lol
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) September 21, 2020
Whether another New Vegas is on the way or not is way too early to determine, but’s a striking example of just how big this deal is and the repercussions it will have across gaming. Microsoft got a lot bigger on Monday, and the next generation of console gaming is poised to look a lot different than anyone thought just a few days ago.