Microsoft has acquired Bethesda and its parent company ZeniMax for a whopping $7.5 billion, bringing it into the Xbox fold. That includes some massive franchises like Doom, Fallout, and The Elder Scrolls. But as part of the acquisition news, the companies also dropped a reminder that first-party games like Starfield will be available on Game Pass upon release.
The announcement from Bethesda mentions Starfield specifically: “Microsoft will grow from 15 to 23 creative studio teams and will be adding Bethesda’s iconic franchises to Xbox Game Pass. This includes Microsoft’s intent to bring Bethesda’s future games into Xbox Game Pass the same day they launch on Xbox or PC, like Starfield, the highly anticipated, new space epic currently in development by Bethesda Game Studios.”
The press release makes no such specific mention of Elder Scrolls 6–which Todd Howard has said is still a long way off–but the precedent set by other first-party games would suggest that it will come to Game Pass too. This also means that current ZeniMax games like Doom Eternal and Fallout 76 will likely either come to Game Pass or stay on the service in perpetuity. Any sequels to these or the company’s many other franchises will hit Game Pass too.
A note from Bethesda Game Studios’ Todd Howard also noted that Starfield and Elder Scrolls 6 will benefit from some big tech changes at the studio. Those two games, and possibly others, will use what he’s calling the “largest engine overhaul since Oblivion.” No date has been set for either game, but Skyrim was originally released back in 2011 and has been ported to practically every system since. It’s even playable on Amazon Alexa … kind of. It’s funny for at least a few minutes. Just don’t expect to make your own character.
Microsoft also noted in its announcement that Game Pass subscriptions have risen to 15 million users. That’s a big number of monthly subscribers to its all-you-can-eat game subscription, even without the extra games coming from the Bethesda acquisition. But clearly, Xbox Game Pass is key to the Bethesda acquisition. Xbox head Phil Spencer has also indicated that the move is more about increasing the value of its services than locking down exclusives.
Game Pass is also included in Microsoft’s All Access payment plans for console purchases, which may get another big boost tomorrow when pre-orders go live for Xbox Series X and Series S. For more details, read our Xbox Series X and Series S preorder guide.
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