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Microsoft to purchase Fallout and Elder Scrolls publisher Bethesda

Xbox has announced it will acquire Bethesda, the owners of The Elder Scrolls and Fallout, as well as upcoming new role-playing franchise Starfield.

Revealed in a blog post written by Xbox boss Phil Spencer, the acquisition is allegedly a $7.5 billion dollar spend for Microsoft, and brings the developers behind the likes of The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, DOOM, Wolfenstein, Quake, Dishonored and more into the Xbox family.

The studios, their staff and their franchises will become part of Xbox Game Studios alongside the likes of Rare, 343 Industies, The Coalition, Playground Games, The Initiative and of course RPG powerhouses InXile and Obsidian.

As wrote Phil Spencer on the official Xbox website

Today is a special day, as we welcome some of the most accomplished studios in the games industry to Xbox. We are thrilled to announce Microsoft has entered into an agreement to acquire ZeniMax Media, parent company of Bethesda Softworks.

As one of the largest, most critically acclaimed, privately held game developers and publishers in the world, Bethesda is an incredibly talented group of 2,300 people worldwide who make up some of the most accomplished creative studios in our industry across Bethesda Softworks, Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, ZeniMax Online Studios, Arkane, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog, and Roundhouse Studios. These are the teams responsible for franchises like The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Wolfenstein, DOOM, Dishonored, Prey, Quake, Starfield and many more.

Bethesda Games Studios head and creative lead behind Fallout and Elder Scrolls Todd Howard has also released a statement, declaring that throughout his career Microsoft has been his studio's "longest and closest working partner" - a relationship that is now closer still.

We share a deep belief in the fundamental power of games, in their ability to connect, empower, and bring joy. And a belief we should bring that to everyone - regardless of who you are, where you live, or what you play on. Regardless of the screen size, the controller, or your ability to even use one.

We can’t think of a better group of people to do that with than those at Xbox. We have friendships that go back to those original days. From Phil to his senior leaders to developer support, they don’t just talk about putting players first, they passionately live it.

While full word of what this means for Bethesda games on other platforms isn't clear, it seems fairly likely that future Bethesda titles will only appear on Xbox platforms - which of course includes PC via the Windows Store and Steam. Microsoft has also allowed a handful of its games to head to Switch - such as Ori and the Blind Forest - so Switch ports of Bethesda titles may continue.

In the ongoing battle for the next generation between Sony and Microsoft, this is a big move - and it follows hot on the heels of Sony tying up Final Fantasy XVI as a big PlayStation console exclusive RPG for the PS5. 

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