Let the Console Wars Begin (Again): Microsoft Now Officially Owns Bethesda


For Bethesda fans, 2021 marks a pretty big year in the company’s history while for Microsoft it’s probably just another day at the office. That’s because Bill Gates’ empire has made it official and finally absorbed storied and beloved publisher Bethesda into its fold. This brings all of the firm’s hot IP along with it including The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, and DOOM.

Fun fact: Back in the day Bill Gates actually wanted to buy the original iD Software because DOOM was so popular that its number of installs actually dwarfed those of the then somewhat nascent in its dominance Windows OS. Just goes to show you that dreams do come true if you work hard and play your cards right – or show up to the bargaining table with billions of dollars. Either way works for most of us.

Two things about Microsoft’s purchase of Bethesda have stood out to the majority of industry watchers: One, aside from Mojang, this is Microsoft’s most serious commitment yet to maintaining a future in video games no matter what and, two, it will be interesting to see how Microsoft plays the exclusivity card this console generation.

Why is the latter something to watch?

Well, Microsoft isn’t as hard about keeping games or properties on one system over all others. Whether that means the PlayStation will be included in future plans remains to be seen but there’s some safe money that this will be the case.

Why? Like Google, Microsoft has had its intentions in video games questioned since day one. Unlike Google, which has recently shuttered Stadia’s games development studio to the collective dismay of many, Microsoft has stuck it out and continues to commit big dollars to the industry.

It’s gotten to the point that Microsoft is seen as a player in video games in general and not just as a maker of a console. In other words, should the console gambit not work out for them, Microsoft is more than happy to make money elsewhere such as on Sony and Nintendo’s systems. This might be a necessity as the ability of the company to make market inroads into other major territories such as Japan has yet to bear fruit.

The Bethesda purchase is unlikely to help that campaign, but it does make Microsoft a more potent force in the broader spectrum of things. Interestingly, the combination of Microsoft and Bethesda reunites the latter with the team responsible for one of the most beloved installments in the Fallout franchise, New Vegas. Needless to say, hopes for another game from that outfit are riding high right now.

We’ve already gotten some indication of this direction as Microsoft has indicated that Bethesda’s current commitments to console exclusivity – timed or otherwise. The real test will come when a new Fallout or Elder Scrolls is on the horizon.

What do you think of Microsoft’s purchase of Bethesda? Will it have an impact on this console generation? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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