The news day started fast this morning, with Microsoft coming out immediately to announce it is acquiring ZeniMax, the parent company of Bethesda. This is obviously a huge deal, as Bethesda itself housed eight different studios, all of which will join the Xbox Game Studios family.
Not only that, Microsoft just gained some incredible intellectual properties. The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Doom, Quake, Dishonored, and many more are now Xbox Game Studios franchises.
What should you expect going forward? What are the potential ramifications of this deal? Here are some takeaways and some things you should watch out for.
Bethesda games will likely hit Game Pass pretty soon
If you’re a fan of Bethesda’s many IPs and you’re an Xbox Game Pass subscriber, you’re about to be very happy. Bethesda becoming part of Microsoft means many of its titles will enter Xbox Game Pass on both console and PC. If you’ve somehow missed the hits this generation, that means you’ll be able to get your hands on titles like:
- The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind
- The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion
- The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim
- Doom Eternal
- Fallout 3
- Fallout: New Vegas
- Fallout 4
- Fallout 76
- Wolfenstein: The New Order
- Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus
- Wolfenstein: Youngblood
- Dishonored 2
- The Evil Within
- The Evil Within 2
- Rage 2
That is quite the storied catalog. Who knows — maybe Microsoft will even get some of the games that aren’t listed into Xbox Game Pass. Who’s up for some old-school Quake?
Deathloop and GhostWire: Tokyo will still have timed exclusivity on PS5
If you thought Microsoft acquiring Bethesda might mean Deathloop and GhostWire: Tokyo would come to Xbox platforms faster — not so much. As Dina Bass of Bloomberg reports, Microsoft is going to honor the timed exclusivity deal Bethesda made with Sony for both titles. The PS5 will get them first, with Microsoft’s own platforms joining the fun sometime later.
And that’s not all Dina Bass managed to get out of Xbox head Phil Spencer.
Microsoft may not make all of Bethesda’s franchises Xbox exclusive
According to Bass, “games will be on Xbox, PC, Game Pass and other consoles will be considered on a case by case basis.” So it doesn’t sound like Microsoft is completely closing the door on bringing Bethesda games to other consoles. This could be code for: “We’ll keep porting them to Switch,” as Bethesda has been wont to do these past few years. But it could also mean PS5 owners won’t be completely out of luck if they want to play the next Elder Scrolls title.
This could spell the death of Bethesda’s PC game launcher
It’s relatively minor in the grand scheme, but you have to imagine Microsoft will view the Bethesda Launcher as unnecessary when it has its own Xbox app on PC. If you have roughly a dozen game launchers installed on your system, you could have one less at some point in the future.
Fun tidbit: Obsidian and Bethesda are back together again
Bethesda is the steward of the legendary Fallout series. Obsidian developed Fallout: New Vegas. Many have drawn comparisons between Obsidian’s The Outer Worlds and the Fallout franchise. Many have also pointed out the similarities between Obsidian’s Avowed and Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls.
With the two companies now under the same Xbox Game Studios umbrella, perhaps they’ll chat, catch up, and share tips on how to make great Western RPGs.