At the time of writing this, we’re one day away from the Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X preorders going live but, in a shocking turn of events, that’s not the most important news out of Microsoft and Xbox this week. ZeniMax Media, parent company of Bethesda amongst other studios such as id Software, has been acquired by Microsoft for the price of $7.5 billion.
This news, in classic Phil Spencer fashion, was announced in the form of a blog post in where he states that “Bethesda’s games have always had a special place on Xbox” and both companies are on the same wavelength for “the future of gaming and [have] long shared similar visions for the opportunities for creators and their games to reach more players in more ways”, making the acquisition almost a no-brainer. This is obviously a huge deal for Microsoft who, we assume, will look to bring all future games under the ZeniMax Media umbrella solely to Xbox consoles as exclusives, leaving those PlayStation players wanting for their fix of the next Elder Scrolls and the already announced Starfall.
Microsoft isn’t shy when it comes to spending big on acquisitions with six other studios being gobbled up by the tech giant since 2018, as well as that purchase of Mojang, creator of Minecraft way back in 2014 for $2.5 billion. This is certainly not the last developer we’ll see being taken over and some see this as the strategy for Xbox and PlayStation heads going forward, expanding their exclusive games library by obtaining studios and the rights to titles rather than actually developing them themselves.
On that point, it’s certainly interesting timing that Spencer released the news about the acquisition just one day away from the preorder of the next generation of Xbox consoles and only shortly after the PS5 preorder debartcle. Clearly, this gives those on the fence as to which console to get another reason to sway in Xbox’s favor, with the potential for the next Elder Scrolls, Doom, and Fallout games to be released exclusively for the console as well as other titles in the vast ZeniMax library making their way over to Game Pass, completely free of charge. Don’t forget, Game Pass is available on PC too, meaning it could certainly be a more attractive option for this monthly subscription service over continuing to purchase games on Steam at full price, for example. Well, unless you like to wait it out and you’re a Steam Summer Sale kind of person…
What do you think about the ZeniMax Media and Microsoft partnership? It’s certainly a big win for Xbox gamers but, are we going to see console wars continue to worsen, with the only losers being those who can’t afford multiple devices? Let’s wait and see how Microsoft handles the newer releases from these studios. Let the exclusivity wars begin!