Microsoft now owns Bethesda Studios. Actually, it’s not just Bethesda, since Microsoft purchased parent company ZeniMax Media which also includes devs like Arkane Studios, id Software, MachineGames, and Tango Gameworks out in Tokyo. The whole thing cost Microsoft $7.5 billion dollars in what is easily the biggest power-move of the next-gen console war.
It also came at a time when Sony was really trying to ensure their lead by snapping up as many PS5 exclusives as they could. According to games journo Imran Khan, Microsoft snapped up Bethesda just as Sony was trying to grab Starfield for themselves.
“The timing on this announcement is absolutely fascinating,” Khan wrote on Twitter. “The week after Sony solidifies their existing exclusivity with some Bethesda games but the day before Xbox opens up pre-orders.
“FUN NOTE,” he added. “Sony had been negotiating timed exclusivity on Starfield as recently as a few months ago. Going to guess either those talks are done or the price suddenly went way, way up.”
If you don’t remember Starfield, we don’t blame you. Bethesda’s upcoming sci-fi space epic was initially introduced way back at E3 2018 with a one-minute trailer that showed us a planet, a space station, and little else. Starfield wasn’t even at E3 2019, and we haven’t really heard of the game since other than a few words promising us that it’s still in development.
Apparently, things were far enough along for Sony to want to secure the rights to Starfield before anyone else, but then Microsoft came in and bought the company. Sony still has a few ZeniMax games as timed exclusives, including Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo, but future Bethesda games will be on “other consoles on a case by case basis,” according to Xbox head Phil Spencer.
Microsoft’s power-move has pushed PlayStation fans to encourage Sony to make a big purchase of their own. One idea gaining traction on Twitter is for Sony to buy Konami to make Castlevania, Silent Hill, and Metal Gear exclusive games for the PS5. No word from Sony if they’ll bow to public pressure.
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