Microsoft Buying Bethesda Could Be Catastrophic for the Gaming Industry

With the news of Microsoft buying Bethesda, could we see a harmful trend of console makers buying more third-party studios? Most people considered Bethesda as untouchable, yet Microsoft's acquisition of the company has thrown what we know into disarray. Could other companies take similar steps?

Microsoft Buying Bethesda Could Be Catastrophic for the Game Industry

Publishers have been acquiring different game developers since gaming even began. They do this to try to diversify their development staff and buy interesting new properties. Recent examples include EA’s acquisition of Respawn Entertainment and Sony’s acquisition of Insomniac. However, with the news of Microsoft buying Bethesda, it’s not just developers on the table anymore. Microsoft have acquired a publisher and all of their existing properties. If massive publishers are now buying other massive publishers, where does it end?

Will other massive publishers be bought?

Square Enix has a very good relationship with Sony.

Square Enix has a very good relationship with Sony.

Microsoft buying Bethesda is only going to send the game industry down a rocky path. We can make comparisons to Disney, another company that has been buying properties left, right, and centre. It’s not quite at those levels yet, but Microsoft have just laid down a marker. I can only see Sony and Nintendo following suit, trying to keep up by buying other publishers. Depending on the morals of these companies, gaming could get a lot more expensive.

Sony has an excellent relationship with Square Enix. After all, both Final Fantasy VII Remake and the upcoming Final Fantasy XVI are currently PlayStation exclusives. To keep up with Microsoft, it could force Sony to purchase Square Enix, making iconic franchises like Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, and Final Fantasy exclusive to their console. Microsoft buying Bethesda have put companies that we thought were untouchable back on the market.

Nintendo has a similar company in their back pocket. The latest Nintendo Direct had two Monster Hunter titles announced, a property owned by Capcom. Both publishers have a very good relationship, and it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility that Nintendo could buy them. That would make properties such as Resident Evil, Monster Hunter, Street Fighter, and Devil May Cry exclusive to Nintendo consoles. This is all just conjecture, but it’s also a worst-case scenario situation we may find ourselves in later down the line.

Bethesda games could be Microsoft exclusive.

Microsoft buying Bethesda means that every single one of Bethesda’s existing properties is now Microsoft’s. They now have the power to do whatever they like with these properties. Although, I don’t think they’ll make their massive franchises like Fallout and The Elder Scrolls exclusive. This would be a very unpopular move amongst the gaming community, and one that would probably do more harm for their reputation than good. I won’t rule it out, but this acquisition is all about Xbox Game Pass.

Having Bethesda titles available from day one on Game Pass would be a massive incentive for people to jump on board the Xbox. Couple that with how cheap an Xbox Series S is, and it would be tempting for people to switch sides. Microsoft has made it pretty clear that they’re focusing on the value of Game Pass, enticing players in with a good deal, and then getting them integrated into the Xbox ecosystem.

But if you’re one of the few people like me who’ve actually managed to pre-order a PS5, you’ve probably got quite a few questions. It’s up in the air at the moment whether Bethesda titles will be come to PlayStation systems. Executives over at Bethesda and Microsoft have stated that future titles won’t be exclusive to Xbox, but that doesn’t mean they’re working with Sony. Microsoft could easily release titles on PC with some also on the Switch and happily call it a day. Just now, Phil Spencer has said that games will come to other consoles on a “case-by-case basis“.

The Future is Uncertain

Everything is up in the air at the moment.

Everything is up in the air at the moment.

I personally hold the ideals that everyone should be able to play great games. If the worst-case scenario happens, and Microsoft make some Bethesda properties permanent Xbox exclusives, I’ll lose a lot of respect for them. They’ve been incredibly consumer friendly this past couple of years, and to cut out PS5 owners from established Bethesda properties would be an enormous step in the opposite direction. Microsoft buying Bethesda is one of the biggest moments in the history of the gaming industry, and will shape its future dramatically.

Hopefully, Microsoft will have a more open attitude after this deal. I’m sure a lot of PlayStation owners are now anxious about the future of their favourite franchises, and Phil Spencer’s “case by case” release strategy on other consoles does not fill me with optimism. Unfortunately, we should expect more massive acquisitions like this in the future from both Sony and Nintendo as well as Microsoft. If every console manufacturer decides to make everything exclusive, it could be catastrophic for not only the gaming industry, but for the customer as well.


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    Ohhh look, someone else who’s pre-ordered a PlayStation crying about Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda and how you’d lose respect for them. Yet you’ve pre-ordered a console from a company that is happy to cut out a large market of the gaming community in Xbox and PC players? PlayStation fans are so hypocritical. Hopefully Microsoft continue to buy up the big publishers and cut Sony out of the picture. In a perfect world, anyone could play any game on whichever console they prefer but it’s Sony who drive the exclusivity. You can’t have your cake & eat it as well.

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    elder scrolls and fallout are now microsoft games so shy won’t they be exclusive?, you would’t expect sony to release their games on xbox

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      Mainly because Fallout and TES are huge franchises that sell millions across every platform. Microsoft buying them and making them exclusive to Xbox would be horribly anti-consumer and I don’t think that’s the direction they’re headed. There’s also the fact that Microsoft could take a cut of every game sold on PS5. We saw it with Minecraft Dungeons earlier this year. I could be wrong though, but I have my fingers crossed that I’m right. We’ll have to wait and see.

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    good article, dont listen to the xbox fanboy that replied a few days ago, they are always playing the victim card and making up conspiracies, haha, also they always talk about “phil” like some sort of superhuman who always says the truth, cringe, that guy has smore lies than xbox has exclusives, some of my favorites are “our e3 *insert every year since phil is at charge of xbox* will be the best of history” or “not all xbox games will be on pc”

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    It sure is interesting how we didn’t hear a damn thing about anyone buying studios up until now. Hell, when Sony bought Sucker Punch in 2011, Sony fanboys cheered. Same last year when they bought Insomniac. Microsoft bought several studios the other year and we heard almost no fussing about it. But then, whoa, Microsoft buys Bethesda, and all of a sudden everyone starts freaking the fuck out over the nonsensical idea that TES6 would be Xbox exclusive.

    Are you daft? Do you realise how much money Microsoft would lose out on if they made Bethesda’s biggest titles exclusive to the Xbox ecosystem? Why would they do that when they can release them on PS5 and make money off of every single sale of those games from Sony’s console? This is Microsoft we’re talking about, anyway, the company that has likewise put Minecraft on everything ever, including Minecraft Dungeons, and both Ori games are on Switch. Xbox at this point *does not really care* that much about exclusives. No doubt, they’re going to have some. But ALMOST all of their upcoming exclusives are from companies that were made by Microsoft to make games (like Undead Labs, The Coalition, and Turn 10) or are from properties or developers that have been under Microsoft for a long time (like Rare). The only exceptions to these are… Avowed, from Obsidian. Grounded, from Obsidian. Hellblade 2, from Ninja Theory. As Dusk Falls, from INTERIOR/NIGHT, a game seemingly nobody is even interested in, oops.

    Phil Spencer has made it very clear what his tactics are. Game Pass. For Bethesda properties, particularly TES and Fallout, you’d have to be some kind of idiot to think the big ‘get’ there is that they’d be day 1 releases on Game Pass. They wouldn’t need to make them exclusive to Xbox to make you interested in getting an Xbox. Game Pass is what’s supposed to entice you, not pointless exclusivity. Spencer has also already stated that he thinks gaming shouldn’t really limit players. The dude plays video games, he understands what’s would earn respect and what would piss gamers off.

    Also, Sony could never afford Square Enix (Sony only have 5 billion bucks on hand) and Nintendo COULD afford Capcom, but Nintendo are penny-pinchers and would never do such a VERY, VERY EXPENSIVE thing. Not that Nintendo gives a shit what the others do anyway. The Switch is a massively underpowered system of a console in terms of system specs, yet it sells like hotcakes, so clearly Nintendo has their own tactics and are doubtless completely unconcerned with Microsoft buying Bethesda, especially since the only full Bethesda game any Nintendo console EVER got was a port of Skyrim for the Switch.

    All this being said, Microsoft made bank on Xbox this past gen, and Microsoft has now absolutely primed themselves to make A BUNCH more money this coming generation, because they’ve bothered to invest in the future of gaming instead of stagnating like Sony has. Unless Xbox as a whole shits itself on stage again, Sony’s not going to have the same lead in console sales they did this gen.

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      Did you even read the article? I addressed quite early on that I don’t think Microsoft will make huge Bethesda IP like Fallout and TES permanent exclusives. Timed exclusives maybe, but the next Fallout and Elder Scrolls will likely come to PS5.
      However, I very much disagree with the idea that Microsoft aren’t in it for the exclusivity. Phil Spencer has said that Bethesda games will come to other consoles on a “case-by-case” basis. Microsoft would be mad to spend $7.5 billion without taking advantage of the exclusivity. I can see franchises like Doom, Wolfenstein, and The Evil Within franchises becoming Xbox exclusive.

      Also, people were never concerned by Sony buying developers because I know Insomniac and Sucker Punch have been making games for PlayStation for years. Sony buying them made a lot of sense. Microsoft bought Bethesda, a publisher with over half a dozen popular IP. The fact that an acquisition of this magnitude came out of nowhere makes me nervous. Sony and Nintendo could react just to stop Microsoft potentially dominating the market.

      I’d also like to point out that Skyrim isn’t the only Bethesda game on Switch. They also have Doom, Wolfenstein II, Fallout Shelter, The Elder Scrolls: Legends and Doom Eternal is in the pipeline. It took a five second Google search to find that information. I’d also like some information on how you think Sony is stagnating because as of right now they have over 100 million console sales, so I think they’re doing just fine.


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