After months of waiting, the deal between Microsoft and ZeniMax is now complete and they will now part of the Xbox brand at a cost of $7.5 billion.
So, what does that really mean for Xbox, the studios, and most importantly the games?
The Deal Is Done
Today, Microsoft has officially announced the acquisition of ZeniMax Media, a process that began back in September 2020.
The deal is worth a reported $7.5 billion and will see Microsoft acquire all of the studios under the ZeniMax Media umbrella, Bethesda, id Software, ZeniMax Online Studios, Arkane Machine Games, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog, and Roundhouse Studios.
This deal also adds prestige IPs such as The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, DOOM, Wolfenstein, and many others to the Xbox library.
While the deal was first announced in September 2020, it didn't get finalized until March 2021 due to regulations and a load of red tape.
Looking To The Future
In a blog post, Microsoft announced the deal and what it means for the future of Bethesda, ZeniMax, and Xbox.
"This is the next step in building an industry-leading first party studios team, a commitment we have to our Xbox community. With the addition of the Bethesda creative teams, gamers should know that Xbox consoles, PC, and Game Pass will be the best place to experience new Bethesda games, including some new titles in the future that will be exclusive to Xbox and PC players."
In a separate blog post, Bethesda's marketing chief Pete Hines stated that we won't see any big changes for the foreseeable,
“First, let me say that we’re not making any landmark announcements or changes right now. As we’ve all shared, the expectation is that Bethesda Softworks and our studios will continue as we have in the past, just with more support and resources than we’ve ever had before. Obviously, Game Pass has been an important initiative for Xbox, and we’ll be working on putting even more of our games into Game Pass than ever before. Beyond that? Stay tuned, we’re just getting started together.”
What This Means For The Future?
It has already been announced that any titles that are either currently on competitors platforms, such as The Elder Scrolls Online, or are already announced to be, such as Ghostwire: Tokyo, will continue to be published on those platforms.
However, beyond that no-one really knows.
Phil Spencer did state today in the post that "some new titles in the future that will be exclusive to Xbox and PC players."
Whether this means major titles such as The Elder Scrolls 6, or more minor titles we can't really say until the time comes.
There has been much debate as to whether games such as The Elder Scrolls 6 should be Xbox and PC exclusive.
On one hand, it makes sense to use them as a selling point for the Xbox brand and ecosystem, if there's a game that will get someone buying an Xbox it is The Elder Scrolls, unless of course you don't like TES.
But, putting them on PlayStation, which is the market leader, would generate more revenue due to increased sales.
So it is a double edged sword, marketability or increased revenue, only time will tell which one Microsoft chooses.