All eyes in the gaming industry are on the upcoming launches of the PS5 and Xbox series hardware. But the more mundane aspects of the gaming industry continue, and today it is a pretty huge development. Microsoft has acquired ZeniMax Media, which owns Bethesda and its subsidiary game studios as Id. The deal is worth $ 7.5 billion.
Bethesda is responsible for some of the largest gaming franchises, including The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, DOOM, and Wolfenstein. Microsoft has been in a gaming acquisition park for the past decade or so. Becoming a subsidiary of Microsoft puts Bethesda in a good company, including Rare, Double Fine, Ninja Theory, 343 Industries, Minecraft manufacturer Mojang, and perhaps most importantly, Obsidian. Obsidian, who published the well-received The outer worlds last year collaborated famously with Bethesda for the much-loved Fallout: New Vegas.
ZeniMax / Bethesda is far from Microsoft’s largest gaming acquisition ever. It is a huge publisher in itself, which gives Microsoft some interesting problems. For example, Bethesda has already committed to making two exclusive PlayStation 5, time-consuming shooting games Deathloop and trippy supernatural action game Ghostwire Tokyo.
Both games are “timed exclusive”, which means they should be coming to the Xbox series sometime, but don’t expect any more PlayStation exclusive releases from the company ever. Of course, lots of Bethesda’s back catalog comes to the Xbox Game Pass.
A more interesting question is, will upcoming Bethesda releases be multiple platforms, or will Microsoft bring together its big games for Xbox and PC? The Elder Scrolls VI and Starfield are far away the company’s most anticipated upcoming titles, and both would make tempting exclusives to stay away from Sony’s hands. But Microsoft has shown a willingness to embrace multi-platform publishing before (The outer worlds came to PS4 on day one and eventually Switch), and such massive, expensive titles require almost as wide a release as possible to break even.