Xbox buys games company Bethesda for $7.5bn

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Xbox-owner Microsoft has bought one of the biggest games companies in the world for $7.5bn.

The company is called ZeniMax Media which owns the gaming studio, Bethesda – known for titles such as Fallout and Skyrim which are popular among adult gamers.

Xbox says that the publisher’s games will be added to its Game Pass subscription package for consoles and PCs.

Piers Harding-Rolls, from media and marketing company Ampere Analysis, says this puts Xbox in a stronger position against its competitors:

“When compared to Sony and Nintendo – this deal catapults Microsoft’s games portfolio into a much stronger position.”

Why is this big news in gaming?

Microsoft and Xbox are putting a lot of effort into Game Pass, a subscription service with over 100 games available for a monthly fee, a bit like a gaming version of Netflix.

It means that those who sign up to Microsoft’s “ultimate” package can play brand new titles at no further cost.

Now that Microsoft owns Bethesda, their games will also be available to play on Xbox’s Game Pass, however on Sony’s Playstation you’ll still have to pay at least £50 for games made by the studio.

Gaming expert, Elle Osili-Wood says it could be a big factor when it comes to people choosing the next console they want to buy:

“Microsoft buying Bethesda, and the other ZeniMax studios, is a really smart move. Firstly, it means Microsoft can now make popular games exclusive to the Xbox. It didn’t have many exclusives before, so this means people are more likely to buy an Xbox.”

“However, even if they don’t make all the games exclusive, it also means that Game Pass is an even better deal, because you’ll be able to play big games on the day they come out, instead of buying them for full price,” Elle says.

Both Microsoft and Sony are releasing their next gen consoles; the Xbox Series X and Sony PS5 in November.

In a statement, Xbox boss Phil Spencer said the two firms “shared similar visions for the opportunities for creators and their games to reach more players in more ways”.

The future of Bethesda games on the PS5

Despite buying the studio, Microsoft say they will honour Bethesda’s current PS5 exclusives, but a decision on whether future games will be released on rival consoles will be made on a “case-by-case basis,” says Phil Spencer.

Pete Hynes, senior vice president at Bethesda Softworks, said: “We’re still working on the same games we were yesterday, made by the same studios we’ve worked with for years, and those games will be published by us.”