Well, that’s one way to start a Monday.
Gamers everywhere woke up to some stunning news today – that Xbox purchased Zenimax Media, parent company of Bethesda, for 7.5 billion dollars. That’s roughly three times as much as they paid for Minecraft.
In the statement released today by Phil Spencer, he noted their shared commitment to creating great experiences for their players – sparking further excitement/discussion around what this could mean for the next generation of Xbox:
Like us, Bethesda are passionate believers in building a diverse array of creative experiences, in exploring new game franchises, and in telling stories in bold ways. All of their great work will of course continue and grow and we look forward to empowering them with the resources and support of Microsoft to scale their creative visions to more players in new ways for you.
Bethesda owns some of the most attractive IPs in the gaming world, including Elder Scrolls, Fallout (though recent bungles have marred its reputation), Doom, and the upcoming Starfield.
After Sony’s Playstation 5 pre-order kickoff went so horribly awry last week, Microsoft made it clear exactly when and where vendors would have the new consoles for pre-order. Now, the day before these pre-orders are supposed to go live, Microsoft makes this seismic announcement, meant to knock down a pillar of anti-Xbox sentiment around the quality of their console exclusives.
To be fair, there have been no official announcements or information as to what this acquisition means for previously disclosed projects. It’s not a given that they will now be Xbox exclusive. However, it’s obviously the goal to let gamers know that if they enjoy Bethesda games, Sony’s console may not be the place for them anymore.
While the preparation for pre-orders is appreciated by the gaming community at large, recent attention to bots and scalpers after the launch of the RTX 3080 may cause some to wonder if the pre-order prep is more performative than functional.
Still, this huge announcement will no doubt have an impact on sentiment towards the Series X, and may tilt the scale for someone on the fence between the two consoles to land firmly on the side of Xbox.
Though, as it was once famously said in Jodie Foster’s Contact: “Why buy one, when you can buy two for twice the price?”
Update: The Senior Vice President of Marketing/Communications for Bethesda, Pete Hines, released a statement offering an optimistic outlook on their future work with Microsoft. He also gives you permission to harass him about Starfield.