At 2 pm GMT on the Xbox’s “Wire Blog” Phil Spencer (Head of Xbox) announced that Microsoft had agreed to acquire ZeniMax Media, the parent company of such heavy-hitting studios as Arkane Studios, Bethesda Softworks, and id Software to name but a few.
In Xbox’s statement, Phil briefly mentions the long going history between both Microsoft and ZeniMax’s core studios:
“Bethesda’s games have always had a special place on Xbox and in the hearts of millions of gamers around the world. Our teams have a close and storied history working together, from the amazing first DOOM, and its id Tech engine, innovating games on PCs to Bethesda bringing their first console game to the original Xbox, the groundbreaking The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. Over the years I’ve had many deep conversations with the creative leaders at Bethesda on the future of gaming and we’ve long shared similar visions for the opportunities for creators and their games to reach more players in more ways.”
The blog post elaborates on Xbox’s plans for the acquisition and what to expect moving forward.
“Just as they took the bold first steps to bring The Elder Scrolls franchise to the original Xbox, Bethesda were early supporters of Xbox Game Pass, bringing their games to new audiences across devices and have been actively investing in new gaming technology like cloud streaming of games. 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.”
This news comes right at the cusp of the next generation of PlayStation and Xbox consoles, and as such, seems like a tactical move on Microsoft's part to make their platform the most attractive.
With any business merger, there will inevitably be complications. And as such, we have yet to hear about Microsoft’s plans on the upcoming PlayStation 5 & PC timed exclusive game Deathloop.
Pete Hines (Senior Vice-President of Marketing at Bethesda) assured that the investment from Microsoft would not hinder the current production of games in a statement shortly afterward saying:
“...The key point is we’re still Bethesda. We’re still working on the same games we were yesterday, made by the same studios we’ve worked with for years, and those games will be published by us.”
Titles within the Bethesda bubble such as the space RPG Starfield have been announced to be an Xbox & GamePass timed exclusive, so it can be assumed that other upcoming Bethesda games (and other ZeniMax subsidiaries’ projects) from here on out will be tethered to Microsoft platforms in some shape or form.