Xbox has landed a $10b blow in the console war buying heavy-hitting game studio Bethesda.
Microsoft has agreed to acquire ZeniMax Media – Bethesda’s parent company – for $7.5b USD ($10.38b in Australia).
The deal adds the eight studios behind games like The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Wolfenstein, DOOM, Dishonored, Quake, Starfield and more to Xbox’s line-up.
Xbox boss Phil Spencer telling CNBC, “they’ll come to Game Pass day-and-date and people will have just an amazing collection of games to play on Xbox.”
Spencer has also promised to honour deals on two upcoming PlayStation exclusives, Deathloop and GhostWire: Tokyo which will arrive first on Sony’s PS5.
“The commitments we’ve already made with the gamers out there on the games people know about, we will continue with those commitments,” said Spencer.
News of Microsoft’s buy broke just hours before pre-orders on the next-generation Xbox Series X and the cheaper Xbox Series S went live at 8am on September 22.
“This is really about a huge investment in our Xbox community,” said Spencer.
“When we look at this launch and people’s appetite for gaming right now, we’re very bullish on how our pre-orders will go.”
“We have the most powerful console in the market. We have the most affordable console in the market.”
Xbox is leaning heavily on its Game Pass subscription service after its biggest launch title, Halo Infinite was delayed into 2021.
15-million gamers are currently signed up to the Netflix-like Game Pass, which grants access to – without ever owning – new titles from Microsoft’s 23 first-party studios and 100+ older titles across Xbox, PC and Android phones.
Many, including rival Sony, have questioned whether the “best deal in gaming” is sustainable in the long run with modern games costing hundreds-of-millions-of-dollars to create.
Xbox’s Phil Spencer promising it won’t be cutting back on quality at Bethesda, which will still publish its own titles.
“Our plan is to leave it alone… Our goal is to make ZeniMax the best ZeniMax it can be.”
“For us this is about gamers having great access to the games that they love on the devices they own.”