Microsoft has announced today, Sept 21, that the giant will be acquiring ZeniMax Media, Bethesda's parent company, in a deal worth a whopping $7.5 Billion.
This attractive news drops after a long run of both parties yielding success from Bethesda's games being included on Xbox Game Pass on both console and PC and cements Microsoft's ties to the critically-acclaimed developer and its current and future titles.
Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, leads the announcement on the Xbox Newsfeed and details a bit of history between the Bethesda umbrella of companies and Microsoft, injecting some heartfelt words into his statement, and added:
"We will be adding Bethesda’s iconic franchises to Xbox Game Pass for console and PC. One of the things that has me most excited is seeing the roadmap with Bethesda’s future games, some announced and many unannounced, to Xbox console and PC including Starfield, the highly anticipated, new space epic currently in development by Bethesda Game Studios."
"Like us, Bethesda are passionate believers in building a diverse array of creative experiences, in exploring new game franchises, and in telling stories in bold ways. All of their great work will of course continue and grow and we look forward to empowering them with the resources and support of Microsoft to scale their creative visions to more players in new ways for you."
The statement, in general, sets an extremely promising tone for the future of Xbox game franchises with Microsoft at the helm of a colossal ship carrying a Bethesda-caliber ship crew and goes partway towards Xbox realising some ultimate goals they've laid into their future infrastructure plans.
Bethesda has had an illustrious career over the years and has been able to feature a few of their critically-acclaimed titles on Game Pass already, but we can now expect more, if not all, of the franchises we know and love (in their entirety) to slide into our grasps, including The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Doom, Dishonored and the list goes on. What this means for Bethesda's future Playstation exclusive releases, Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo, is anybody's guess at this moment in time.
Regardless, we know that the business play itself is an interesting endeavour and comes in perfect time for Xbox's launch of their next-generation consoles, Xbox Series X/S, with Xbox's view to capitalise on the Game Pass business model and user experience on both versions of the console.
The merger sees Microsoft expand their 15-strong creative studio roster to 23, absorbing some interesting avenues for exploration into their remit. Equally, we are almost certainly destined to be the recipients of an increase in quality with regards to gameplay and overall user experience, what with Microsoft's seemingly infinite resources and expertise at Bethesda's disposal going forward.
Todd Howard, Director and Executive Producer at Bethesda Game Studios, adds his personal two-pence through his own statement on Bethesda's site:
"With each new console cycle, we evolved together. From bringing mods to consoles with Fallout 4, now over a billion downloads, to the latest technologies fueling Xbox Series X/S. These new systems are optimized for the vast worlds we love to create, with generational leaps not just in graphics, but CPU and data streaming as well. It’s led to our largest engine overhaul since Oblivion, with all new technologies powering our first new IP in 25 years, Starfield, as well as The Elder Scrolls VI.
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."
Like Phil Spencer, Todd reminisces on the relationship Microsoft and Bethesda have shared and grown since day dot and justifies the business move on an emotionally-involved level.