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Bethesda bought by Microsoft in massive boost to Xbox Game Pass

In shock news, Microsoft has bought ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda, bringing Fallout and The Elder Scrolls to Xbox Game Pass.

Microsoft is to pay $7.5 billion (£5.85bn) for ZeniMax Media, the company that owns Bethesda and all its development studios, including id Software, Arkane Studios, MachineGames, and Tango Gameworks.

This means that Microsoft now owns major franchises such as Fallout, The Elder Scrolls, Doom, Quake, Wolfenstein, Dishonored, The Evil Within, and Prey.

The legal fine print won’t be finalised until later, but once it’s all sorted Bethesda games will be added to Game Pass as first party titles – although nothing has been said yet as to whether future games will be released on PlayStation.

Traditionally, if a console owner buys a publisher it’s specifically to make all the games exclusives, with the only notable exception being when Microsoft bought Minecraft.

At the moment it’s hard to tell whether there’ll be a similar exception for Bethesda games, because if they do all become Xbox exclusives a lot of fans are going to be very angry.

In a blog announcing the purchase, Xbox boss Phil Spencer skirted around the issue, saying only that, ‘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.’

Since Starfield is a brand-new franchise you’d expect that to now become an Xbox exclusive, but if it doesn’t then that will be a good indication of the fate of the other franchises.

‘The key point is we’re still Bethesda. We’re still working on the same games we were yesterday, made by the same studios we’ve worked with for years, and those games will be published by us’, wrote Bethesda marketing boss Pete Hines on his own blog.

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‘We share a deep belief in the fundamental power of games, in their ability to connect, empower, and bring joy. And a belief we should bring that to everyone – regardless of who you are, where you live, or what you play on. Regardless of the screen size, the controller, or your ability to even use one’, wrote Bethesda’s Todd Howard in his own blog.

‘We can’t think of a better group of people to do that with than those at Xbox. We have friendships that go back to those original days. From Phil to his senior leaders to developer support, they don’t just talk about putting players first, they passionately live it.’

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