On Monday, Sept. 21, it was announced that Microsoft had purchased Zenimax for 7.5 billion dollars, therefore acquiring Bethesda Studios as well as Obsidian. This means that Microsoft now has rights over the Skyrim, Fallout and Outer Worlds franchises.
With this purchase, the Xbox Studios network has expanded from 15 to 23 studios. As a first move, on Oct. 1, Doom Eternal will be hitting Xbox Gamepass for anyone who has the subscription service. This is a recent release, meaning it’s another major title to hit Gamepass before it’s even a year old.
Fans have stated fears that this could mean future games in each of the franchises, particularly Fallout’s franchise, may be console locked to Xbox or Xbox and PC only. Todd Howard issued a statement that didn’t exactly seem like the games would be locked to Xbox only, but in the long run, he’s no longer the one who gets to make the decision. The decision on whether or not games become exclusive to Microsoft products falls on the shoulders of Microsoft itself.
With large franchises like these that make so much money, it would be a loss to lock them down to PC and Xbox. However, the timing of this purchase coincides almost perfectly with the upcoming release of the new Xbox consoles, leaving a slight doubt that any new games from these studios will be shared with anyone outside of Microsoft.
However, an advantage of having several large AAA-title game studios owned by Microsoft is that they can be added to Gamepass.
Gamepass is a subscription service offered by Microsoft for both PC and Xbox and can be thought of like a ‘try-before-you-buy’ type of deal. Some games, like Fallout 4 and New Vegas or other games like Wolfenstein, can be ‘one-and-done’ type deals, where it’s played and then finished.
This also saves players money in the long run, as they only have to pay for the subscription and not each individual game as it comes out.