September 21st, 2020 marks a huge day in the calendar of all those who work behind-the-scenes at Microsoft, as it was announced that the company have entered into an agreement to acquire ZeniMax Media, parent company of Bethesda Softworks.

Microsoft acquired the company for $7.5 billion in a landmark deal.

Bethesda is recognised as one of the most critically-acclaimed, exciting games studios in the world, with franchises such as The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Wolfenstein, DOOM, Dishonored, Prey, Quake, Starfield and more all falling under their banner.

The group is made up of 2,300 people across the globe, who make up creative studios across Bethesda Softworks, Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, ZeniMax Online Studios, Arkane, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog and Roundhouse Studios.

Head of Xbox Phil Spencer said in a statement: "Bethesda’s games have always had a special place on Xbox and in the hearts of millions of gamers around the world. Our teams have a close and storied history working together, from the amazing first DOOM, and its id Tech engine, innovating games on PCs to Bethesda bringing their first console game to the original Xbox, the groundbreaking The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind.

"Over the years I’ve had many deep conversations with the creative leaders at Bethesda on the future of gaming and we’ve long shared similar visions for the opportunities for creators and their games to reach more players in more ways."

Whether or not this means the future of Bethesda releases is in Xbox exclusively hasn't yet been revealed, but Spencer did confirm that their franchises would now all become a part of the Xbox Game Pass. What is more likely is that Microsoft will give Xbox timed exclusives, before allowing Bethesda titles to drop on other platforms.

"Like us, Bethesda are passionate believers in building a diverse array of creative experiences, in exploring new game franchises, and in telling stories in bold ways," he continued.

"All of their great work will of course continue and grow and we look forward to empowering them with the resources and support of Microsoft to scale their creative visions to more players in new ways for you."

This news comes just a week after it was revealed EA Play would be available to members of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and Xbox Game Pass for PC as part of their membership benefits at no additional cost. This means titles like FIFA 21, Need for Speed Heat, Mass Effect and more can all be accessed via the service.

Microsoft seem keen to lead the way when it comes to gaming subscription services, and they're doing so heavily. Whilst Sony do offer their own subscription services over on PlayStation, they have nothing on the same level as Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.

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