Column How buying Zenimax will help Microsoft win the next generation of consoles

Column How buying Zenimax will help Microsoft win the next generation of consoles

To say that the purchase of Zenimax by a giant represented by Microsoft is a shock is an understatement. Although I had previously heard about a potential deal between Zenimax and Xbox, I could not even imagine that the entire company, with all franchises and in-house studios, would be bought for “only” $ 7.5 billion. Apparently, in recent years, the income from the games of this corporation has not been that mind-blowing … however, there were not so many major releases.

The fact is, Microsoft has lost out on the current generation of consoles, and they are well aware of that. Phil Spencer’s division is aware that at the start of the Xbox One, they made a bet on a lame horse. But accepting the problem is the first step towards fixing it.

With the Xbox Series consoles, the company decided to play for all the money. 

In recent years, Microsoft has been actively buying existing studios, but not only releases, but for the sake of being able to add many titles to the Xbox Game Pass subscription. Because the company sees the success of Netflix and wants to become an analog in the world of games, this is almost an official position. This requires a lot of content, and not only indie or AA level, but also large caliber releases. And then Zenimax enters the scene. Because it’s not just the company that owns Bethesda.

Xbox has been replenished with games and studios:

  • Bethesda Game Studios – Fallout, The Elder Scrolls, Starfield
  • id Software – DOOM
  • ZeniMax Online – TESO
  • Arkane – Dishonored, Deathloop, Prey
  • MachineGames – Wolfenstein
  • Tango Gameworks – The Evil Within, Ghostwire: Tokyo
  • Alpha Dog – mobile games
  • Roundhouse studios

Thus, the number of large Xbox studios increased by six at once. That means more games for Xbox Game Pass. What’s more, it has already been announced that Starfield and The Elder Scroll 6 will be available in Game Pass on release day.

It is important to note that Bethesda will still continue to publish games, but what will happen to the PS5 versions is anyone’s guess. The already announced titles will probably be released on Sony consoles, but Microsoft could easily follow the path of temporary exclusivity and not release Starfield or TES 6 on PS5 for 6-12 months. Yes, this will be a serious blow to reputation and the PlayStation community will hate the Xbox, but ordinary gamers who do not care about console wars will choose the platform on which they can get The Elder Scrolls 6 for a modest $ 10. 

And now Sony simply has nothing to cover such a hand with. Yes, the Japanese giant has its own exclusives. God of War is cool … but this isn’t Obsidian’s Fallout. Yes, yes, do you remember that Microsoft owns Obsidian? Fallout veterans can now tackle the sequel to Fallout: New Vegas. And it will be a bomb. Even Obsidian herself understands this:

Or return the good old isometric Fallout, which can be given to the masters from inXile.

And The Elder Scrolls, on which millions of gamers have grown up? As cool as Spider-Man or the continuation of the Horizon story is, they can hardly compete in importance with the games in the TES series.

Oh, I don’t envy the PlayStation team right now. For them, the news should be a shock with a magnitude of 9 points out of 10. But the deal was announced immediately after the not very smooth announcement of prices for the PS5.

And all this is just the tip of the iceberg. Soon, Xbox Game Pass may begin to replenish Fallout, TES, DOOM, Wolfenstein. Meanwhile, all Zenimax studios continue to work on games that may only be released on Xbox and PC in the future.

If you thought that the current generation was full of surprises, then the new one has not yet come out, but already promises to turn the gaming industry upside down. The only thing that raises concern is the future of Zenimax studios, if Microsoft suddenly loses interest in games? 

Well, PC gamers will win the most in the new generation, because Sony has no choice but to expand its audience by releasing its games on Windows. PlayStation will have to try very hard to prove its relevance, because one DualSense and three to five AAA exclusives a year do not sell a new hundred consoles.

The battle for a new generation is already in full swing, we just haven’t felt it yet.
Officially, the deal between Microsoft and Zenimax will close between January and June 2021, but some changes may start soon.

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