Wed. Sep 28th, 2022
Just a few of the game franchises that Microsoft now owns.
enlarge Just a few of the game franchises that Microsoft now owns.

Major game franchises like disasterprecipitationThe Elder Scrolls, and more will be Microsoft properties soon. That’s because the maker of Xbox and Windows announced Monday morning that it was buying Bethesda Softworks’ parent company, ZeniMax Media.

“Like us, Bethesda passionately believes in building a wide variety of creative experiences, exploring new game franchises and telling stories in bold ways,” Microsoft wrote in the announcement. “All their great work will of course continue and grow and we look forward to giving them the resources and support from Microsoft to scale their creative visions to more players in new ways for you.”

From many platforms to one?

Bethesda has confirmed an acquisition price of $7.5 billion. For context, that’s three times the price Microsoft paid Minecraft creator Mojang in 2014. Mojang, of course, remained a multiplatform developer after its acquisition of Microsoft — a decision that led to the odd sight of Microsoft publishing a Mario-themed “Mash-Up Pack” for Minecraft on Nintendo consoles.

But Minecraft was a relatively unique situation where the acquired game was built around cross-platform compatibility among a strongly established fan base. Microsoft seems less likely to extend the same multiplatform courtesy to Bethesda’s gaming properties in the long run, but nothing has been officially announced about that.

[Update: In a tweeted message, ZeniMax Online Studios Studio Director Matt Firor confirmed that “ESO will continue to be supported exactly as it was, and we fully expect it to keep growing and thriving on each of the platforms that are currently supported.” That includes versions on the Xbox One and Windows, as well as the PS4, Mac, and Stadia.]

However, Bethesda is still working on two console-exclusive titles for the PS5 in the short term, Ghostwire: Tokyo and death loop† Both games have had a lot of focus on Sony’s console marketing this year, ahead of expected 2021 launches. It’s probably too late to change deal structures and platform release plans for those titles (which are also coming to PC), meaning Microsoft will be fine. be behind two of the PS5’s biggest console exclusives next year.

“The main point is that we are still Bethesda,” VP of PR and Marketing Pete Hines wrote in a blog post announcing the news. “We’re still working on the same games we were yesterday, made by the same studios we’ve been working with for years, and those games will be published by us.”

[Further update: In an interview with Bloomberg News, Microsoft Head of Xbox Phil Spencer confirmed that Bethesda would honor existing commitments for PS5 games like Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo. Future Bethesda games will be considering for other consoles “on a case-by-case basis,” Spencer said.]

Part of Microsoft Game Studios, Bethesda’s gaming lineup is de facto part of Xbox Game Pass; Years ago, Microsoft promised that every upcoming first-party game would be available on the subscription service “the same day they launch”.

buying up the world

The purchase of ZeniMax is a huge culmination of an already massive string of acquisitions by Microsoft Game Studios in recent years. The company boasted Psychonauts 2 studio Double Fine last year, and a year before that, Undead Labs (State of dissolution), playground games (Forza Horizon), Ninja theory (hellblade), and duress games (We Happy Few

Microsoft also bought Obsidian Entertainment in 2018, giving the developer of Fallout: New Vegas and the owner of the precipitation IP again under the same corporate roof.

By akfire1

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