Following Microsoft's purchase of Bethesda parent company Zenimax, future games from the studio, including Starfield and seemingly The Elder Scrolls 6, will come to Xbox Game Pass the day they're released.
"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 an announcement. "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."
Starfield is the only future title name-dropped here, but much and more falls under the umbrella of "Bethesda's future games." We already know that The Elder Scrolls 6, while years away, is an inevitability, and Microsoft will undoubtedly be eager to get it on Xbox Game Pass as soon as possible. That being said, the timing and position of Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo, both timed PS5 exclusives published by Bethesda, remains to be seen. Bethesda's Pete Hines says the studio will still publish its own games (opens in new tab), but the new boundaries of other Zenimax-owned studios are unclear, and this Microsoft acquisition could complicate or change the details of these games. In cases without timed exclusivity, it's also possible that Microsoft will be happy to publish games on PS5 as long as they're on Xbox Game Pass at launch.
Bethesda is a huge addition to the stable of Xbox studios, and its games would be equally gigantic selling points for Xbox Game Pass, which has rapidly become the central pillar for the Xbox Series X. In addition to future games, we'll also existing Bethesda, Arkane, and id Software games come to Game Pass in the relatively near future. It already features games like Dishonored 2, Fallout 76, and Wolfenstein: Youngblood, and Microsoft says it will be adding "Bethesda's iconic franchises" soon enough. Microsoft now essentially holds the key to Bethesda's vault, so closer collaboration between the two is a matter of when, not if.