Xbox dropped some megaton news earlier this week, announcing that Microsoft has bought Bethesda. That means Arkane, id Software, MachineGames, Bethesda Game Studios, Tango Gameworks, and ZeniMax Online Studios are now all first-party Xbox developers. We put together a handy list of all studios and franchises Xbox now owns, if you’re interested.
Microsoft isn’t stopping there, however. It is actively looking to buy up more studios, where it makes sense, and will use them to bolster both its console exclusive offerings and the value of Game Pass. All games from studios Microsoft owns will be part of your Game Pass subscription on the same day they launch.
In an interview with Cnet, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella admitted that the company is open to acquiring more studios in the future. “We’ll always look for places where there is that commonality of purpose, mission and culture,” he said.
While Microsoft has already established a new studio in Santa Monica called The Initiative – likely in a bid to grab some talent from Sony’s Santa Monica studios – Xbox is more keen to buy up studios that are already established. Why? Because it’s much easier than building something from scratch, and presumably because of the time investment involved in that process. With a studio that’s already established, you’re also getting all the games they are currently working on.
“You can’t wake up one day and say, ‘Let me build a game studio,’” Nadella said. “The idea of having content is so we can reach larger communities.”
The Xbox strategy is built around Game Pass – bringing users into an ecosystem, rather than relying on them opting into new hardware. This strategy is most clear in Game Pass for PC and xCloud on mobile. Microsoft wants people to play its games regardless of where they play them. That’s likely one of the reasons the Xbox Series S is so cheap – it’s an affordable way to get players into next-gen, while the hardcore fans can instead opt for the more powerful Xbox Series X.
However it plays out, next-gen is definitely going to be interesting.
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