For the past few months we have lamented the loss of Microsoft’s Halo Infinite as a powerful incentive to buy an Xbox Series X at launch. The Xbox Brand has toiled behind the PlayStation juggernaut for the past decade because of its lack of great exclusive titles. However, fortunes are about change for the company.
In a massive move that will create shockwaves that will reverberate across the industry, Microsoft has announced today that they have bought Bethesda’s parent company ZeniMax for a whooping $7.5 billion.
Microsoft’s statement on the acquisition:
Games are the primary growth engine in gaming, and games are fueling new cloud-gaming services like Xbox Game Pass, which has reached a new milestone of over 15 million subscribers. With the addition of Bethesda, Microsoft will grow from 15 to 23 creative studio teams and will be adding Bethesda’s iconic franchises to Xbox Game Pass. This includes Microsoft’s intent to bring Bethesda’s future games into Xbox Game Pass the same day they launch on Xbox or PC, like Starfield, the highly anticipated, new space epic currently in development by Bethesda Game Studios. -Microsoft
To that, Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella added:
“Gaming is the most expansive category in the entertainment industry, as people everywhere turn to gaming to connect, socialize and play with their friends. Quality differentiated content is the engine behind the growth and value of Xbox Game Pass—from Minecraft to Flight Simulator. As a proven game developer and publisher, Bethesda has seen success across every category of games, and together, we will further our ambition to empower the more than three billion gamers worldwide.”
Xbox Head, Phil Spencer echoed the sentiment:
“This is an awesome time to be an Xbox fan. In the last 10 days alone, we’ve released details on our two new consoles which go on pre-order tomorrow, launched cloud gaming in Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, and now we’re making another investment in the most critical part of our strategy: the games.”
Just before the Xbox Series X/S’s preorders are about to open Microsoft announced a move that will undoubtedly push many gamers (even from Sony’s camp) into the Xbox’s side of the playing field.
Quite Simply, there is a good possibility that Elder’s Scrolls 6, future Fallout, Doom, Dishonored, Wolfenstein, amongst others, titles will now be exclusive to Xbox Series X/S and Windows.
Perhaps this newest gigantic acquisition by Microsoft is the reason why Phil Spencer seemed confident (over the past few weeks) that the company did, in fact, not need Halo Infinite for their next generation plans to succeed.
This is huge, no words to describe it. It is almost, if not as huge, as any of the big three hardware companies acquiring a giant like Take Two (Grand Theft Auto).
Microsoft’s biggest issue over the past decade has been its lack of great exclusive games, it killed their Xbox One sales when stacked against Sony’s PS4. Sony had a few big AAA, and high critical scoring titles on a yearly basis, when Microsoft seemly only had Forza Horizon to compete in the range of Sony’s Exclusives Metacritic praise.
Things have potentially turned the tables a bit on Sony, if Microsoft intends for some, if not all, of these Bethesda IPs to stay on the Xbox ecosystem as exclusives. What we know is that possibly all of these titles will be available for free (with the $14.99 monthly fee) on Game Pass, from day one. Meaning Elder Scrolls 6, for example, will be playable from day one, at no extra cost to Xbox Game Pass subscribers.
Microsoft now has the most powerful next-gen console, the best subscription service (by far), and now perhaps might also have tied Sony in the quality of its exclusive gaming content.