Microsoft has confirmed that it has finalized a deal to acquire Bethesda Studios, a video game publisher responsible for a number of popular games including Fallout, Doom, Elder Scrolls etc. The deal is reported to be worth a whopping $7.4 billion. The acquisition now means that the publisher will work under Microsoft’s Xbox Studios Umbrella.
In a statement released shortly after the deal went through, Microsoft noted that Bethesda is an established publishing studio with a track record of producing state-of-the-art popular games. The hope is that the two companies will merge their strengths in an effort to “empower more than three billion gamers worldwide.”
The timing of this announcement was also very interesting. It came barely a day before Microsoft opened preorders for its widely anticipated next-gen Xbox console. Dubbed the Xbox Series S and the Xbox Series X, these next-gen consoles are expected to start shipping in November this year.
Some experts argue that the acquisition of Bethesda Studios is designed to make the consoles more exciting to consumers, seeing that the publisher already has a massive fan base for its games.
In addition to this, all Bethesda’s games that have been acquired as part of this deal will now be available on Microsoft’s gaming subscription service known as the Xbox Game Pass. We also know that any future games or projects that Bethesda was working on will be part of the service in the future.
For example, the publisher was in the process of developing “Starfield”, a highly anticipated epic space-themed game that was expected to come out in the near future. Based on the acquisition deal by Microsoft, the game will now be released on the Xbox Game Pass the same day it launches on PC or console.
Despite this, traditionally Bethesda published games that work both for Sony and Xbox consoles. As you know, the two companies are huge rivals in the console space with Sony’s next-gen PlayStations already available for preorders. We aren’t sure if based on this acquisition the publisher will continue to produce games for the Sony platform.
Over the last few years, Microsoft has been flexing its muscle in the gaming space in a bid to dominate the industry in the long run. The US tech giant has successfully acquired a number of game publishers including a highly publicized deal to buy the Swedish publishing studio responsible for Minecraft. The deal was valued at $2 billion.
Microsoft sees gaming as an integral part of its future business. With massive investments on next-gen consoles already underway, the only thing left now is to consolidate its position by getting more and more publishers under its belt.
Besides, Google’s entry into the gaming market through the Stadia platform may have rattled some feathers at Microsoft and it seems the company is taking action right away.