Microsoft’s Executive Vice-President of Gaming Phil Spencer, who is the head of the Xbox brand, announced on Tuesday the company has completed its acquisition of ZeniMax Media, parent company of Bethesda Softworks.
The deal includes the eight gaming studios that fall under the umbrella of Bethesda Game Studios: id Software, ZeniMax Online Studios, Arkane, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog and Roundhouse Studios.
It can’t be overstated how massive the deal is for XBox as a platform. Bethesda has produced some of the most iconic games in every generation of the evolution of video games since opening its doors 1986. And that was across all platforms, Microsoft will now be able to condense much of the 35 years of excitement in one place.
“Now that everything is official, we can begin working together to deliver more great games to everyone. At every step building toward this moment, I’ve been inspired and motivated by the creativity, insight, and community-first approach of the talented people at Bethesda,” Spencer said. “Our goal is to give these teams the best foundation for doing their greatest work and to learn from them as we continue to build Xbox into an inclusive platform for all players.”
Spencer said the next step following the deal is building an industry-leading first party studios team, “a commitment we have to our Xbox community.”
Spencer reaffirmed what most expected: The best place to get your hands on the AAA titles that Microsoft just got acquired will be Game Pass, whether it’s on PC or console. Also, you can expect titles that will be exclusive to Xbox and PC.
According to Statista, Fallout 4 moved over 13 million copies across all platforms and is in the top ten bestselling Xbox One titles ever, selling just north of 5 million copies. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim launched a decade ago this November. It was the fifth bestselling Xbox 360 game of all time and across all platforms sold over 30 million copies. Bringing these kind of franchises exclusively under the Microsoft flag will mean big bucks. Some of the PlayStation crowd will crave the latest trips to Tamriel or the wastelands too much to sustain their Xbox abstinence.
When Microsoft first announced the deal last fall, people assumed a lot would happen with those iconic franchises. Many of us were raised with games like The Elder Scrolls, Fallout and Doom. But Spencer argues there will not be anything from Microsoft that would hinder the creative process that’s got those franchises to where they’re at. Spencer said it’s vitally important that Bethesda continues making games the way it always has.
“We look forward to empowering Bethesda’s creative teams to reach even more players around the world, helping make future Bethesda titles the biggest and most popular games in their history,” Spencer said. “Xbox and Bethesda have long shared a common vision for the future of gaming. Both as fans and as creators, Bethesda understands the potential of Xbox Game Pass.”
Spencer went on to note the vision of the late Robert A. Altman, founder of ZeniMax Media and a close friend of Spencer, wouldn’t be forgotten as the company makes its way into the Microsoft fold.
“Robert believed deeply in the power of gaming and we are privileged to be able to continue his work by joining forces with the teams he built and led for many years,” Spencer said. “I will miss the opportunity to work directly with him on the future of our combined teams but I know that his spirit will live on in the shared work we do and motivate us to make this partnership all he envisioned.”