Xbox’s $7.5 billion Bethesda acquisition is some of the biggest news ever in gaming. We covered it over at Generation Xbox, and it’s clear that gamers across the world were shocked and excited by the news. It dominated the news cycle at a crucial time too. Xbox cleverly announced the purchase the day before pre-orders for the new Xbox Series X and S went live. It was undoubtedly a smart move to push pre-orders, and it was seismic for the gaming industry as a whole. But how big a deal is the Bethesda acquisition?
We’ve known for a while now that Xbox have been playing the long game. They started prepping for next-gen way back in 2016, sacrificing the current gen Xbox One family. They were fighting a losing battle: Sony had market share and the award-winning exclusives to keep their gamers happy. The games industry isn’t one that can have huge changes overnight, as big blockbuster titles take years to make. Bethesda specifically are known for huge gaps between their titles. Fallout 3 and 4 were separated by 7 years, whilst Skyrim has been waiting for a sequel for nearly a decade now. Their games go through engine rewrites like we go through chocolate bars, so will this acquisition yield significant effects for the Xbox community anytime soon? I doubt it.
There aren’t many games coming from Bethesda Games Studios in the near future. Deathloop, from Arkane Studios, is confirmed for Q2 2021, whilst Tango Gameworks’ Ghostwire Tokyo is scheduled for 2021 but no official release date is known. Both of these games, however, are PS5 timed exclusives, a contract that Xbox head Phil Spencer has already said they’ll honour according to a Bloomberg post. So, it’ll be a year or two until any of their new upcoming releases hit Xbox Game Pass, unless there’s something unannounced we don’t know about. The big hitters like Fallout, The Elder Scrolls and Starfield, are going to be a while away.
There are certainly short term effects we’ll see that will have players excited. The Bethesda library coming to Game Pass is huge, and it’s already beginning. DOOM Eternal will come to Game Pass on October 1st 2020, so we can see their games will come rather quickly. However, there are a huge amount of games from Bethesda that have either already been on game pass before, or everyone already owns. Everyone who has ever wanted to play Skyrim will have already done so. Fallout 4, DOOM 2016, Dishonored 2 and Wolfenstein 2 have already come and gone from the service. Fallout 76 and The Elder Scrolls Online have been there a while. There aren’t many huge Bethesda titles left for gamers to discover on the platform, so although it is a huge deal, I’m not sure it’ll have a huge effect on Game Pass subscribers just yet.
The short term effects are few, but the long term benefits are certainly obvious. Fallout, Starfield and The Elder Scrolls will certainly be system sellers in a few years. However, those titles are still seemingly years away. The news is undoubtedly huge, but it has just come too late to make the Xbox Series X and S any more compelling at launch. The drought of exclusives won’t be magically fixed, and that means players still don’t have a reason to flock to Xbox. If this deal had been signed years back, maybe we’d see the fruit of it now. Instead, it looks like Xbox gamers will be waiting even longer for those precious exclusives. The Series X and S still have me excited though – one’s the most powerful console on the market, the other the cheapest entry-point for next-generation gaming. It just might be a while before we see The Elder Scrolls 6 make full use of that hardware.
How big a deal do you think the Bethesda acquisition is? Let me know in the comments below, or over on my social media! We are drawing ever closer to the launch of next-gen, and there’s more exciting news everyday. Make sure to stay tuned here and at Generation Xbox for all the latest gaming news!