Microsoft Buys Out Bethesda; This is Why it Could Be a Blessing for All Gamers!

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Posted September 22, 2020 by Richard Lee Breslin in Announcements, Features, Gaming News, Microsoft, Opinion, Xbox Game Pass, Xbox One, Xbox Series X

Yesterday, the gaming community was rocked by the revelation that Microsoft has purchased ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks in a deal worth $7.5 billion (approx £6 billion), meaning that Microsoft now owns the rights to the likes of The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Doom, Wolfenstein, even the upcoming Starfield and much more.

What this also means for Xbox gamers is that all Bethesda titles will be coming to Game Pass, which includes new titles, yet to be released being available day one on the subscription service, which already offers great value for money.  Better still, the Bethesda titles will also be coming to the Microsoft cloud-streaming service allowing you to play 100’s of titles anywhere on mobile devices.

While many Xbox fanboys and fangirls will be celebrating Microsoft’s huge acquisition, on the other side of the fence, PlayStation fanboys and fangirls are concerned that this means that they won’t be able to play Bethesda titles on PS5 going forward.  However, coming from someone that cares little about being a “fanboy”, in-fact, I think that cultured mentality is painfully outdated; Microsoft’s acquisition should actually be great news for the gaming community as a whole, regardless of the platform that you’re most loyal too, from Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo.

Even before Xbox chief Phil Spencer had confirmed to Bloomberg in regards to certain “exclusive” titles, just going by the fact that when Microsoft purchased Minecraft developer Mojang Studio, they still made this iconic title multi-platform, not only on consoles, but mobile devices too.  In-fact, they also made Minecraft cross-platform, so that even more gamers can play together, something that up until recently, Sony hasn’t been all that welcoming to with games being cross-platform.  So for that reason alone, I had no concerns that Microsoft would sting gamers, even on a rival console.

So with this purchase of ZeniMax, at least for the immediate future over the next few years, I would be surprised if Microsoft made Bethesda titles such as The Elder Scrolls, Doom and Fallout to be Xbox exclusives.  I see this acquisition as a way to entice gamers to pick-up the next-gen Xbox consoles and encourage customers to subscribe to the fantastic Game Pass, and I have no doubt that this purchase of ZeniMax will help to increase sales for Microsoft with consoles and subscriptions.

Interestingly, Deathloop developed by Dishonored studio Arkane and GhostWire: Tokyo from The Evil Within developer Tango Gameworks, are PlayStation ‘timed’ console exclusives, meaning that they will release on PS5 first, before Xbox.  So surely, this means that this timed-exclusive deal is no more?  Well, it’s still very active.  When talking to Jason Schreier of Bloomberg, Phil Spencer revealed that Microsoft “plans to honour the PS5 exclusivity commitment” for both games.  Which fair play, because I’m not sure if Sony or Nintendo would do the same, as Microsoft could probably, very easily reverse those deals if they wanted too.

Obviously we don’t how long this timed exclusive deal will last; it could be a month, six months or even a year.  However, it wouldn’t surprise that even with the previous deal being honoured; Microsoft might shorten that timed exclusive deal, so that Xbox gamers might not wait quite as long.  Now I know some Sony fanboys might not be happy with that happening, for whatever selfish reason, but the benefit of not being a fanboy, is that you can appreciate and enjoy all platforms, and if it means that more players get to play their favourite games and not wait as long, that’s great for the gaming community in my humble opinion.

I admit, I am a Bethesda fan, but the Fallout series has suffered in recent years.  Yes I know bugs have always been laughed at in a loving way in Fallout and The Elder Scrolls, but Fallout 76 especially released in buggy mess and to this day, it’s still not all that stable of a game.  Fallout 76 was a game that faced an uphill struggle from day one and certainly shouldn’t have released in its state.  But now that Microsoft owns Bethesda, the developers creating games in the Fallout and The Elder Scrolls franchise, might not be under the same pressure to release games in a poor state and games might actually release when they are ready.  So if that happens, that again is great for the gaming community, especially with these titles being cross-platform.

Whether you’re a fanboy or not, this acquisition is nothing short of being huge.  But going to a console war mentality, Microsoft won the war between Xbox 360 and PS3, which arguably resulted in Microsoft losing the battle between Xbox One and PS4, with Microsoft seemingly becoming arrogant and complacent prior to the launch of the Xbox One.  Microsoft made it easy for Sony to be the good guys & gals, and the more consumer friendly company, and even though Microsoft improved their reputation in time, it was all a little too late in that generation.

Microsoft are making big plays as we move into the newest generation and they are pushing hard against Sony with not only acquiring loads of top studios (story 1/story 2), but also with the excellent Game Pass service.  It will be interesting to see if Sony responds in some way by making their own big moves in the coming weeks, maybe they will, maybe they won’t.  But if Sony does respond in a competitive way, the competition can only be great for the gaming community and in fairness; Sony did announce the PS Plus Collection for PS5 last week, providing more value to PS+ subscribers.

Sony does have a slight advantage with launch titles between the next-gen consoles in my opinion.  However, on the back of the success of the PS4, hopefully Sony won’t follow in the previous footsteps of Microsoft and become overly arrogant into the new generation.  But I have a feeling, that Microsoft purchasing ZeniMax can only be a good thing for all gamers, and it might not be all doom and gloom.  Be sure to let us know your thoughts on Microsoft buying ZeniMax across our social media channels.