In perhaps the biggest news of the next console generation yet, Bethesda announced that they are "joining the Microsoft family". In a $7.5 Billion deal, Microsoft will acquire Bethesda's parent company, ZeniMax Media, and therefore the rights to fan-favorite franchises such as Fallout, Elder Scrolls, DOOM and Dishonored.
Microsoft's Phil Spencer also confirmed that some of Bethesda's extensive catalogue will be added to Xbox Game Pass, yet didn't specify which titles. Furthermore, the upcoming Starfield will also be available on the service upon release.
Announcing the news, Bethesda's Pete Hines said that the deal, "allows us to make even better games going forward." He went on to add that, "Microsoft is an incredible partner and offers access to resources that will make us a better publisher and developer."
"Yes, it’s a big change for us, but after taking a minute to absorb the magnitude of this acquisition, we’re going to continue doing what we know and love: making great games."
The deal is set to close in the second-half of 2021, so we may not get any confirmation regarding console exclusivity of new Fallout and Elder Scrolls titles until after the next-gen systems launch.
As pointed out by Jason Schreier of Bloomberg News, this coincidentally makes Bethesda Softworks and Obsidian Entertainment sister companies - the latter of which is made up of the original creators of Fallout, who were also brought on to create Fallout: New Vegas. The two companies have not worked together since, yet that could now change as both are now under the Microsoft umbrella.
Furthermore, it remains to be seen if the upcoming Deathloop and GhostWire: Tokyo will remain timed PlayStation 5 exclusives, or be moved onto the Xbox Series X/S as part of this deal.
Food for Thought
Well I think I speak for everyone when I say I didn't see this one coming. Initially, I was of the opinion that Microsoft and Sony were not competing with each other anymore; the PlayStation will be a home for single player experiences, and Xbox will focus on games as service. This move, however, seems to blow that theory out the water. $7.5 Billion isn't pocket money, even to Microsoft, and it now has one of the most renown single player developers under its belt.