It’s official, Microsoft has purchased Bethesda and they have become one big family. That’s big news for the entire industry, but what does it mean for gamers? What about exclusive titles? Why did this happen? What does the Cinelinx family think? Let’s find out.
Let’s face facts here. If Microsoft didn’t fail to deliver for an entire generation (Hello Xbox One) then they wouldn’t have had to drop 7 Billion dollars playing catch up. Sony has spent millions over generations building their own development teams with their own exclusives. It’s a bit funny seeing people argue that “Sony has exclusives, why can’t we!” on forums, but it’s way different. That’s like crying that Halo is exclusive to Xbox, it makes no sense. This wasn’t to retaliate against Sony exclusives, it was to catch up. It’s a harsh reality, but it’s true and I believe even Microsoft saw it which is why this purchase happened. They needed a quick update to their development teams, while also investing heavily in gaming, so it’s an easy yet costly fix.
That being said, as a gamer it is exciting because this means Microsoft is back and will potentially start pulling their weight again. It’s good news for everyone, even PlayStation fans because that means Sony needs to step up to the plate too. The last few years have been kind of lax, even Sony’s own releases seem to have dwindled dramatically, but now the real race begins. It’s not just games Microsoft bought, it’s talent that will evolve with their own studios, new technology, and engines. I truly hope this leads to both Microsoft and Sony developing some extremely amazing experiences over the next few years, and not a bidding war on different publishers.
As for Bethesda being exclusive, well I’m not sure. I think it’s fair to assume there will be some timed availability via GamePass for Bethesda titles for obvious reasons, but I don’t think current franchises will jump entirely. It would be a horrible business decision considering all the profit margins etc that were used to price tag Bethesda was from third party sales. Plus the absolute best advertisement for GamePass would be to tell PS gamers “hey you could have played this for free, and earlier over here,” and then slip a GamePass ad into the box.
I do believe any new franchises, maybe even Starfield for that matter, will be exclusive titles from now on. As for Doom, Elder Scrolls, Fallout, etc it would just be stupid to remove those entirely and anger millions of fans for no reason, it sure wouldn’t make me want to support GamePass or Xbox. Plus Microsoft has been here before when they spent a large amount of money on Minecraft creator Majong, and yet Majong titles are still hitting PlayStation. The updates may be harshly delayed to make Xbox seem like a “better place to play” but it still gets the support, and Microsoft still shoved the obnoxious microtransaction store on the PlayStation version.
Plus you have some signs everywhere hinting that franchises will stay. Maybe MS is in talks with Sony, who knows, but even in their official announcement they don’t say anything about making them exclusive. I would assume if they were planning to be exclusive, they would outright say it. Top that on with the fact Sony is still heavily hyping up upcoming Bethesda releases on PS5/PS4 across all their channels including their paid exclusives Ghostwire and Deathloop, plus a Doom 3 VR edition now (which was announced AFTER the deal went through with Microsoft). At the end of the day Bethesda has a history of favoring Xbox, so not much should change in that perspective.
What truly sucks is I don’t know if I can get invested in Ghostwire and Deathloop yet. I want to, but I don’t want to play the game, get interested in the world, and then be told I need an Xbox to keep playing it.
Microsoft has bought up a whole bunch of game developers, but the ZeniMax buyout has to be their largest yet. There’s much to be said about any company having so many developers under a single umbrella, but in terms of game development, I think MS has been handling it well. Unlike some other companies (*cough* EA *cough*) they’ve largely let the developers work independently without a huge amount of oversight/interference.
They’ve made it clear in statements both made back during the initial announcement and the recent finalization, they intend to let Bethesda continue to operate in the manner they’re used to. For the most part, this is a great thing, and being connected to Microsoft offers the studio a greater wealth of resources to pull from.
Not only can this result in bigger games overall, but also opens up the door to the ability to work on more games at a time and increase their releases. Hell, we already know they’re working on a whole bunch of things at once (with Indiana Jones, a new Fallout, Starfield, and Elder Scrolls 6), but more resources means (hopefully) we’ll be able to actually play these sooner rather than later.
As for exclusives, I can’t say I feel one way or another about it. OBVIOUSLY the company isn’t going to buy up developers without thinking of some sort of console exclusivity. That said, MS has shown in the past they’re more willing to work with other consoles than most. For major franchise, I think it would behoove them to keep certain titles multiplatform and reach a wider audience (and more potential profits).
They’ve already announced some of Bethesda’s upcoming games will be Xbox Series X|S exclusive, but what those might be are still up in the air. For what it’s worth, I think the exclusives we’ll see will be more along the lines of “spin-off” titles for major franchises. Imagine getting a Fallout side story (maybe even New Vegas 2) on the Xbox, while the mainline titles in the series (Fallout 5) will be available everywhere.
Overall, I’m excited to see what Bethesda has in store, and crossing my fingers we’ll start to get some updates on the titles they’ve been working on for years now…
Microsoft has a ton of things going for them. They’ve got the most powerful consoles on the market, a community management team that is second to none, a behind-the-scenes culture of autonomy and respect for their studios and a value-based, player-first mindset that you don’t see a whole lot of nowadays. The one thing they didn’t have a lot of, though were quality IPs exclusive to Xbox.
That’s what makes this purchase of Zenimax/Bethesda so crucial. If Microsoft was ever going to keep up with Sony in the games department, they had to make a big move. This is a monumental move, as it gives the Xbox a catalog of rich worlds for players to explore exclusively on the green brand. Games like DOOM, Fallout, Elder Scrolls, Starfield, The Evil Within, Wolfenstein, Dishonored, and Prey.
This should be an exciting development for Bethesda fans, as well. Having the benefits of Microsoft’s seemingly limitless resources and the hands-off culture being part of Xbox Game Studios will only serve to help Bethesda make their visions a reality and help them ascend to even greater heights with their games. That’s just a win-win, really.
An added win for players is the fact that it is highly-likely that new Bethesda games will be available on Xbox Game Pass on Day 1, which is an absolute value. Saving the full $60 by playing it on the subscription service, with the added benefit of playing the games on xCloud, is just beyond belief. So, now we’re up to 3 wins.
As for exclusives, there was this notion that Microsoft wouldn’t make Bethesda games exclusive to Xbox in the gaming community. While that may be true for games like Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo, which were purchased as exclusives by Sony before Microsoft bought up Bethesda, the rest of the catalog of games is fair game. It’s silly to think that Microsoft spent $7 billion to create cross-platform games. No way.
There isn’t a doubt in my mind that after Deathloop and Ghostwire, the entirety of Bethesda’s library of games will be Xbox exclusives, with PC ports of course. The move makes complete sense. Xbox needs to sell more consoles, generate more excitement for their own brand. So, why put games on PlayStation? Sure, they’d make more money from game sales, but this is Microsoft. They aren’t really strapped for cash.
No matter which corner of the gaming quadrant you stand on, this deal is perfect for Microsoft, Bethesda, and their fans. I anticipate we’ll look back in a few years and point to this moment as the turning point for Xbox that led to brighter days of even more excitement for team green.
How do you feel about Bethesda and Xbox? Be sure to let us know here, or sound out on our Twitter feed, @cinelinx!