Bethesda, Arkane, MachineGames, and More Officially Join Team Xbox

Last year, right before the Xbox Series X|S pre-orders went up, Microsoft announced that they had acquired ZeniMax Media, which encompasses several game development studios such as Bethesda, MachineGames, Arkane, and more. The $7.5 billion deal has now been finalized, officially sweeping all the developers and IPs previously owned by ZeniMax under the Xbox Game Studios banner. We didn't cover this news initially but now that it's all said and done, we have lots to cover. First off, here is the full list of developers that will now work under the Xbox umbrella:

  • Alpha Dog Games
  • Arkane Studios (Dishonored, Prey)
  • Bethesda Softworks (Elder Scrolls, Fallout)
  • iD Software (DOOM)
  • MachineGames (Wolfenstein, Indiana Jones)
  • Roundhouse Studios
  • Tango Gameworks (The Evil Within)
  • ZeniMax Online Studios (The Elder Scrolls Online)

For starters, we have to consider what exactly this means for Bethesda games going forward. While people did theorize that this would send all future Bethesda titles under Xbox exclusivity, based on recent statements made by Phil Spencer in today's Xbox Wire post, only some of their new titles will be Xbox and PC exclusive. If I were a betting man, I would say that new IPs such as Starfield will probably be Xbox exclusives, and entries in pre-established series like Elder Scrolls will be released on all platforms, releasing on Xbox Game Pass on Day 1 to drive more subscribers to the ever-growing service.

Speaking of Xbox Game Pass, several ZeniMax games such as Dishonored 2 from Arkhane, DOOM: Eternal from iD Software, and Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim from Bethesda are already part of the subscription service, and more titles will be added soon with some titles teased to be released later this week. As for new releases, it's fair to assume based on previous Xbox exclusive releases, that they will show up on Xbox Game Pass day-and-date. 

It's important to note that although we know what Bethesda is working on, Elder Scrolls VI and Starfield for those who forgot, we don't have all the details on what the other studios are working on or what their exclusivity will look like. For example, we found out in January that MachineGames is working on an untitled Indiana Jones game, but we know nothing about the game itself and if it will release on any platforms other than Xbox and PC. And as for studios like Roundhouse, we have no clue what they're working on at all.

At the end of the day, this is just the start of the partnership and it will be interesting to see what Bethesda and all the other ZeniMax developers do with the budgeting power of Microsoft behind them. One thing is clear though, this generation will have some unusual title screens. Be it PS5 players booting up Deathloop and seeing Xbox Game Studios at the start or Xbox Series X|S players picking up the latest MLB: The Show and seeing the PlayStation Studios logo. Either way, this could be the start of new partnerships between consoles and if that is the case everyone wins!

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