Microsoft has finally bought ZeniMax for a whopping $7.5 billion, following approval from regulators in the US and Europe. In Microsoft’s announcement were some details on what the acquisition means for the future of Bethesda’s games. It’s official, some titles will be exclusive to Xbox and PC.
Phil Spencer, Xbox boss, made it clear that Microsoft is working with Xbox, PC, and Game Pass being the “best place” to play Bethesda’s new games. It really isn’t a surprise that Microsoft would give preferential treatment to its own platforms. However, he also stated that “some new titles in the future” from Bethesda will be exclusive to Xbox and PC.
Of course, there are still so many questions that are yet to be answered. Games like Deathloop, which already had deals in place before the acquisition, will still honor their agreements. But future games like Elder Scrolls VI, Starfield, and others, questions remain.
Spencer’s statement didn’t include any details on specific games that may be exclusive to Xbox and PC in the future. It also wasn’t mentioned if “exclusive” means timed-exclusive or full-exclusive. Either way, this was one of the largest acquisitions in gaming history, so it’s unlikely that Microsoft will play nicely with it competitors.
Although Spencer often talks about the futility of console wars, don’t take that as him being soft. He wants Xbox to outperform PlayStation and Nintendo, and purchasing ZeniMax is a step towards accomplishing that.
One major selling point Microsoft has over any of its competition is Game Pass. Microsoft could release games like Starfield and Elder Scrolls VI on Game Pass, but still release these games for PlayStation at full price. The value is obvious, since the price of a game is only increasing.
Another factor to consider is that Bethesda Game Studios has been leaning more towards Xbox for some time already. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind was exclusive to Xbox and PC, while The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion launched as a timed-exclusive on Xbox 360. Recently, Fallout 76 had several exclusive arrangements with Xbox, including a special edition console. One must also consider reports from players that several Bethesda-developed titles in the Fallout and Elder Scrolls series have performed poorly on PlayStation in comparison to Xbox.