Bethesda, the publisher and studios behind Fallout and The Elder Scrolls series, is joining Xbox.
Microsoft announced on the official Xbox Wire blog (opens in new tab) that it had entered an agreement to purchase ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks - which itself owns Skyrim studio Bethesda Game Works, Doom studio id, Dishonored studio Arkane, and many more. Microsoft confirmed that titles from across Bethesda's catalog will soon join Xbox Game Pass, including Bethesda Game Studios' eagerly awaited next title Starfield (opens in new tab).
"Just as they took the bold first steps to bring The Elder Scrolls franchise to the original Xbox, Bethesda were early supporters of Xbox Game Pass, bringing their games to new audiences across devices and have been actively investing in new gaming technology like cloud streaming of games," Phil Spencer wrote in the announcement.
"We will be adding Bethesda’s iconic franchises to Xbox Game Pass for console and PC. One of the things that has me most excited is seeing the roadmap with Bethesda’s future games, some announced and many unannounced, to Xbox console and PC including Starfield, the highly anticipated, new space epic currently in development by Bethesda Game Studios."
According to a press release, Microsoft is paying a total of $7.5 billion dollars to purchase the company and its intellectual property. The purchase is expected to close in the second half of 2021.
Bethesda is one of the biggest third-party publishers for Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo, which makes this a massive shakeup for the industry. Granted, Microsoft has permitted wholly owned franchises such as Minecraft to appear on other consoles in the past, so this doesn't necessarily mean they'll all become Xbox and PC exclusives.
This may be all the more reason to get an Xbox Series X pre-order (opens in new tab) in.