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Just one day before Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S preorders open, Microsoft have announced a game-changing acquisition. For $7.5 billion, Microsoft has entered into an agreement to acquire ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks. With this acquisition, Microsoft has nearly doubled their amount of internal game development studios and brought in a massive number of established IPs . Games like Starfield and any subsequent DOOMFallout, and Elder Scrolls titles are now set to launch on Xbox Game Pass, yet another selling point for the impossibly robust subscription service. This also means future titles from Arkane Studios, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks, and more will be Microsoft published.

All this news is especially surprising in light of Bethesda’s recent exclusivity committments to PS5. Per Phil Spencer himself, Deathloop is to remain a timed-PS5 exclusive while there is still no word of whether Ghostwire Tokyo is coming to Xbox. Nonetheless, Microsoft has plenty of prospective Bethesda titles to look forward to. The long coveted (though as yet unseen) Starfield is already being touted as a frontline Xbox release, not to mention the ever profitable Elder Scrolls. With Obsidian being Microsoft owned as well, the chance of a Fallout: New Vegas follow-up is also immensely promising.

Most cryptically, all sides of the Bethesda-Xbox deal have been speaking very carefully about what this acquisition means for Bethesda games coming to PS5. In a statement published today, Bethesda’s Executive Producer Todd Howard spoke of “[sharing] a deep belief in the fundamental power of games… and a belief [that] we should bring that to everyone – regardless of who you are, where you live, or what you play on.” In recent years, Xbox has taken a fairly hospitable approach with regards to their published titles coming to other platforms and it will be interesting to see if this tendency is mirrored in their distribution of Bethesda titles. Regardless, this is a major acquisition for Microsoft, announced just in time to spark anticipation for the Xbox Series X and Series S.

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