On Tuesday, March 9th, the European Union approved Microsoft’s massive $7.5 Billion acquisition of ZeniMax. The European Commission found no competition concerns with the deal. Microsoft announced the potential acquisition of ZeniMax Media in September of 2020. There were many questions about what the deal meant for Bethesda? Would the whole of ZeniMax be pulled under the Microsoft umbrella? Now that it’s complete, the company owns eight studios:
- Alpha Dog Games (Wraithborne – Mobile action roleplaying game)
- Arkane Studios (Dishonored and the PS5 timed-exclusive Deathloop)
- Bethesda Softworks (Maryland, Austin, Dallas, and Montreal Game Studios)
- Id Software (Doom)
- MachineGames (Wolfenstein)
- Roundhouse Studios (The team behind Prey)
- Tango Gameworks (The Evil Within and Upcoming Indiana Jones game)
- ZeniMax Online Studios (The Elder Scrolls Online)
Microsoft may own the studios, but Phil Spencer reassures fans that Bethesda will continue to create games as they always have. With Microsoft’s backing, ZeniMax Media’s teams will have more significant support for developing their games. Also, the acquisition does not mean that the famous catalog of games will be Xbox exclusive. In fact, the PS5 Deathloop will remain a PS5 timed-exclusive for one year. Phil Spencer confirmed that some future Bethesda games would be Xbox and PC exclusive.
Bethesda’s marketing head, Pete Hines, stated that they wouldn’t announce any landmark changes. “First, let me say that we’re not making any landmark announcements or changes right now. As we’ve all shared, the expectation is that Bethesda Softworks and our studios will continue as we have in the past, just with more support and resources than we’ve ever had before.”
Bethesda gives Xbox Game Pass more clout
Fans have enjoyed games from Bethesda Softworks for 35 years. While not everyone has played every title, Microsoft may remedy some of that. Xbox Game Pass will add several of their games to its growing library. In addition, Phil Spencer claims that Game Pass will be the best place to experience new Bethesda games as well. Remember, Game Pass is Microsoft’s Netflix-structured streaming service. That’s quite the incentive to pick up Game Pass if players haven’t already.
According to Venture Beat, Microsoft will hold a presentation about the Bethesda acquisition on March 11th. Maybe they will detail what video games will first land on Game Pass? At best, we can expect to get official answers to many of our concerns. However, I don’t expect much in the way of new video game announcements. We will see if the presentation is real.
Bethesda also published a video that serves as a minor chronicle of their journey leading up to Microsoft’s deal. So, join them in celebrating what looks to be a bright future for Bethesda.
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