Microsoft acquires Bethesda – Companies try to survive the monopolized market

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Photo: Isa Hudziak

Isabella Hudziak, Staff Writer

For a price tag of $7.5 billion, Microsoft announced it purchased the parent company of Bethesda Softworks, ZeniMax Media, on Sept. 21.

Bethesda Softworks is a company known for developing video games for franchises such as The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Dishonored and more.

Public opinions on this transaction have been mixed. Some see this is a positive outlook for the games that have not put out new titles since the early 2010s. Others are concerned about favoritism of console-exclusive titles and those who do not have an Xbox.

In order to play future Bethesda titles, gamers would be required to purchase the Xbox or PC systems. This puts a strain on students financially and pulls possible consumers away from supporting Bethesda if the titles were not multi-port compatible.

The controversy comes from the upcoming PS5-exclusive titles attached to Bethesda and the future gaming ports. The PS5 will be released soon, along with the new Xbox console. There has been speculation that Microsoft’s move to buy Bethesda was in response to this conflict of interests among the gaming community.

“Gaming companies like exclusives and Microsoft has had pretty popular exclusives before like the Halo franchise,” Senior Ian Markwardt said. 

Markwardt said the sale could have been the result of Bethesda’s recent low ratings. 

“Bethesda has been having some issues recently with their reception with games like Fallout 76,” he said. “I think it was probably a necessity for them to sell, especially with the fact that Microsoft is a pretty big company.”

Gaming is a business. Despite being well known, Bethesda fell to financial struggles and was taken by a multimedia company. Does this bode well for the future of games? This brings the viability of indie-game developers surviving in a monopolized game market into question.

There is a possibility that indie developers will be restricted to only PC development unless a paycheck is signed by a console’s corporate mother, such as Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo. By selling the rights, indie developers will be required to share profits with the system owner and thus decrease their own income. Does this inhibit freedom of game development, or help centralize it?

“My opinion on the future of gaming is that eventually we will get to a point where every game is turned to VR and we all have a more realistic style of game to play,” Freshman Charlie Buckley said. 

Bethesda has ported notable titles such as The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim and Fallout 4 to the VR systems. VR hardware is compatible with both Playstation and Xbox.

An influx of pre-orders of the Xbox Series X console crashed the Amazon webpage and many walked away empty-handed. This situation parallels the PS5 pre-order sale that occurred merely a week prior. More information about future Xbox titles will be released in the upcoming weeks leading up to the November sale of the Xbox Series X console.


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