Microsoft sent shock waves across the gaming world Monday after announcing it acquired video game publisher Bethesda in a multi-billion dollar deal.
Game series such as “Fallout,” “Doom” and “The Elder Scrolls” are now a part of the Microsoft family after its $7.5 billion acquisition of ZeniMax Media, which owns Bethesda.
“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,” Microsoft said in a statement. “This includes Microsoft’s intent to bring Bethesda’s future games into Xbox Game Pass the same day they launch on Xbox or PC.”
To put the deal in context, former Cracked.com editor Jason Pargin said the acquisition is nearly double the $4 billion price Disney paid for Lucasfilm, which makes “Star Wars.“
“That’s how valuable these Bethesda franchises are,” Pargin said.
The purchase is tied for the third-largest in Microsoft’s historytrailing only Linkedin ($26.2 billion) and Skype ($8.5 billion), BNN Bloomberg anchor Jon Erlichman noted.
The deal caught gamers by surprise Monday, the day before Xbox Series X preorders begin.
Bethesda’s Senior VP of Global Marketing and Communications, Pete Hines, said the change will allow them “to make even better games going forward.”
“Microsoft is an incredible partner and offers access to resources that will make us a better publisher and developer. We believe that means better games for you to play,” Hines stated. “Simply put — we believe that change is an important part of getting better. We believe in pushing ourselves to be better. To innovate. To grow.”
It’s unclear if future Bethesda games will be made for Sony’s PlayStation 5. Two upcoming games from Bethesda, “Deathloop” and “Ghostwire:Tokyo,” will remain exclusives to PS5 and any other games will be on a “case-by-case basis,” according to Bloomberg reporter Jason Schreier.
But if any future Bethesda games come to PlayStation, they would be made under the Microsoft umbrella, much like how Sony’s MLB The Show series will be coming to Xbox and Nintendo next year.
Xbox gamers rejoiced Monday and tweeted their reaction.
“Today is the most excited I’ve been about Xbox in years,” one gamer said. “Now Microsoft owns Bethesda, Obsidian and InXile—three of the best RPG makers in the biz. I’m thrilled about today’s announcement and now I’m looking forward to Series X more than ever!”
“Pretty clever for Microsoft to unveil this Bethesda deal 9 hours before Series X/S preorders go live,” Skill Up, a YouTube gaming channel, wrote on Twitter. “Some SERIOUS wind in their sails today.”