On Monday, Microsoft announced their plan to purchase Zenimax, the parent company to Bethesda Softworks. Bethesda has released countless classics in the gaming world such as The Elder Scrolls series, the Fallout series and Doom. The tech giant purchased Zenimax for $7.5 Billion, topping their purchase of Minecraft developer Mojang in 2009 for $2.5 Billion. At this stage Microsoft has a sizable footprint in the gaming community, already owning Xbox and popular games such as Flight Simulator and the Age of Empires saga. Every week billions of hours are spent playing video games across the world, and it is expected that in 2021 the gaming industry will make approximately $200 billion.
This deal has taken place only weeks before the launch of Microsoft’s new Xbox Series X and Series S gaming consoles. These consoles will be competing against Sony’s PlayStation 5 that are also set to launch in November. There has always been a rivalry between the two consoles, leaving a divide in the gaming community as to which side fans supported. Now that Microsoft owns Zenimax and Bethesda, there is speculation that going forward, their games will be exclusive to Xbox and Windows to try and bring more users to their platforms. Whether or not this will happen remains to be seen, as Bethesda games have always remained impartial by releasing their games on multiple platforms.
Earlier this week the head of Xbox, Phil Spencer said that Microsoft has no plan to interfere with the way Zenimax makes their games, saying “ZeniMax has an amazing track record of building great games. Our goal is to make ZeniMax the best ZeniMax they can be, working individually with their studios on the great platform technology that we have, getting their creators’ feedback into the things that we need to go build.” This means that the existing agreement with Zenimax and Sony that Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo are to be PS5 exclusives is still going ahead.
Only time will tell what Microsoft decides to do with their new investment, and one can only hope that Microsoft will stay true to their word about wanting to make cloud gaming with your friends a reality regardless of their platform.