Microsoft’s stable of studios and franchises just grew exponentially. The company has entered into an acquisition agreement with Bethesda Softworks’ parent company, ZeniMax Media, which means a slew of properties are joining the Xbox family. Of course, such properties include the likes of DOOM, Fallout, The Elder Scrolls, The Evil Within, Wolfenstein, Dishonored, and Prey. Bethesda’s world-renowned talent counts as part of the sale as well, meaning Microsoft is gaining more than 2,300 of the industry’s most talented developers. According to Bloomberg, this will go down as the “biggest video game purchase ever,” since Microsoft closed the deal for a reported $7.5 billion.
Head of Xbox Phil Spencer announced the news in a blog post via Xbox News, which features a list of all the development houses featured in the ZeniMax acquisition. Those teams are as follows: Bethesda Softworks, Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, ZeniMax Online Studios, Arkane Studios, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog, and Roundhouse Studios.
Phil Spencer’s post notes cursory details about the first steps being taken with regards to the acquisition. For example, “Bethesda’s iconic franchises” are slated to join the Xbox Game Pass service on console and PC. What hasn’t been made clear, however, is what this means for Bethesda’s multiplatform relationships. Will the inevitable Wolfenstein III from MachineGames still come to PlayStation platforms? Microsoft has yet to specify its plans on this front.
However, precedent suggests it could go either way. After Microsoft’s $2.5 billion Minecraft acquisition, for instance, the series continued to see success on PlayStation. In fact, the franchise’s most recent release, Minecraft Dungeons, simultaneously hit PS4, PC, Switch, and Xbox in May. Yet, the Hellblade sequel counts as an Xbox console exclusive, due to Microsoft’s acquisition of developer Ninja Theory. It seems, then, that this may all work on a case-by-case basis.