HO. LEE. SHIT! That’s what I said at first. Then I settled in, read the details, traded reactions with my peers on twitter, and waited for a little more news from industry personalities. Then I narrowed my gaze and realized: this doesn’t change a thing.
With Phil’s Statement on the acquisition saying that the already inked deals for PS5 content would be left as-is, and that future content exclusivity would be determined on a case-by-case basis, the message was pretty clear:
Having this stuff Day 1 on Xbox Game Pass will get us a bunch more subs, and we’re totally into that. Yea, for sure. Go ahead and sign up to Game Pass, guys. We’ll weigh the cost of development with whether or not we can afford to keep new Bethesda games off of PS5. If we can, you bet your ass we’ll keep it away from them. If we can’t, they’ll be on PS5. No doubt. We need their money. We really, really like money.
– Microsoft (my tl;dr translation) about their Bethesda/ZeniMax purchase
That $7.5B price tag means they’ll need to pull in a lot of profit to justify the purchase. Having the Bethesda catalog of games -including older titles with all DLC, and newer games Day 1 on Xbox Game pass – is a big deal. Game Pass’s value is instantly increased and they should start to see that benefit in their subscription numbers almost immediately. So how many subs are necessary to make Game Pass more than just marginally profitable? Does the increase in Game Pass subs make more money than the full price sales they would have received on Microsoft’s platforms? Would they still sell these games on PlayStation consoles to maximize revenue? If so, does this deal change the value of either next-gen console at all?
There are a lot of questions that won’t be answered until we get a definitive answer on where Bethesda’s next big titles will land. Until then, let’s continue to speculate and overreact, because that’s where the fun is!