Hossa, Microsoft is stepping on the gas and using its billion-dollar fortune to buy heavily for the next generation: Phil Spencer is worth 7.5 billion US dollars to start the Bethesda family around The Elder Scrolls 6, Starfield and the next Doom to bring exclusively or time-exclusively to Xbox Series X, S and PC. In the report, we explain why the golden era of gaming is starting.
Microsoft buys Bethesda and with it some of the biggest brands in gaming history. But what does that mean for us gamers? A report.
We live in the golden era of gaming. Games have never been as cheap as they are today and so easily accessible to everyone. For ten to twelve euros there is the Xbox Game Pass for Xbox One, X, the Series X and smaller S as well as the PC and that’s awesome: instead of 70 or on the Playstation 5 up to 80 euros for some games on the table at Microsoft, we pay the price of a cinema ticket per month and get almost everything our heart desires: Forza Motorsport 8, Forza Horizon 4 and 5, Gears 5, Gears Tactics, the great The Outer Worlds from Obsidian and more indie Pearls when mankind has game time, such as Grounded. And now also Doom Eternal, The Elder Scrolls 6, Starfield and everything else that will come from Bethesda. All of these games will not incur any additional costs for Game Pass holders, which is a small revolution for the industry.
Xbox has the power, but the big games against the titans of Sony Playstation are missing
Microsoft made a clear statement with the Xbox One X – as the most powerful console in the world. An extremely important statement because a big mistake was made with the Xbox One 2013: While the graphics performance was excellent, the CPU – the system’s brain – couldn’t keep up in a direct comparison and the RAM was too low. That quickly got its revenge because the installation times were extremely long – while most of the titles were installed on the PS3 within a few minutes, it could take 10 minutes on the Xbox One, and even half an hour was not uncommon. This is one of the reasons why the marketing of the Series X relies so heavily on its ultra-fast NVME SSD, which loads a Red Dead Redemption 2 in 35 seconds – on the Xbox One X, the whole thing takes a minute longer.
Microsoft has had exciting hardware for a long time – the Xbox One X also had a brutal amount of power, the only thing missing was large, exclusive blockbusters. This is why buying Bethesda is so smart.
So Microsoft has had the technology for a long time, but there has been a lack of exclusive blockbusters for years. And this is exactly where competitor Sony is world-class: In recent years, Sony has released the game of the year almost every year – also titles that have sold extremely well:
Uncharted 4 sold 15 million units, Spider-Man 13 million, God of War 10 million and even completely new brands like Horizon: Zero Dawn sold 10 million games from scratch, bringing in around 700 million US dollars in sales successful add-on The Frozen Wilds not included. Microsoft, on the other hand, found it extremely difficult to send new brands into the race. On the one hand, because you didn’t have enough triple-A studios in your own family.
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And on the other hand, because expensive hopefuls like Quantum Break (development budget around 75 million US dollars) from Max Payne Team Remedy did not spark off as hoped. Mostly there was also a lack of marketing budgets – where Sony pays real money for every launch, books TV campaigns, plasters cities with advertising posters and shouts out to the world, “The new God of War is here. Spread out and buy it, “Microsoft was often much too quiet – even a really spectacular shooter like Gears 5 appeared in September last year without a substantial marketing campaign. It’s not that Xbox doesn’t have exclusive titles, they just talk too little about them. A mistake that was not made with the Flight Simulator 2020 by the way – Microsoft was much louder in its marketing here, the player numbers prove them right. We have been asked many times in the comments over the past few months why there are no major new brands launching on Xbox and the answer is complex because game development is a very time-consuming process. A few years ago they started buying triple-A studios such as Ninja Theory, which have already delivered the right psychological drama Hellblade and are now developing Hellblade 2: Senua’s Saga exclusively for Xbox Series X and Xbox Series X.
While Sony owns the best studios in the world, Microsoft has always lacked triple A exclusives – the purchase of Bethesda increases its studio family from 15 to 23.
However, new games usually take three years, and fresh brands even up to five years. In other words: When Phil Spencer took over the management of Xbox from Don Mattrick, he reacted consistently and relatively quickly, but Mattrick had already got completely lost with his TV focus and Kinect. But we will only see these fruits in the next few years because good games have to mature for a long time. So why does buying Bethesda make gamers happy? Because it shows that the game market is close to Microsoft’s heart and that their game pass strategy is currently working 100 percent: they already have a whopping 15 million subscribers, who generated four billion US dollars in sales in 2019. So the Game Pass is not great for us, but also good business for Microsoft. The total revenue of the Xbox division has grown to 11.6 billion US dollars in the current fiscal year 2020.
Did Microsoft Buy Bethesda Because They Didn’t Get Tiktok? – No, that’s bullshit
There were rumors about five years ago, when Xbox was going through its weakest phase, that the company would sell the Xbox division for $ 50 billion. Fortunately, these rumors have not come true, instead these mega deals have been prepared for a long time and are now officially finalized. As we know from an insider, there were negotiations with Bethesda a few years ago, but they dragged on over a long period of time. You can roughly imagine how many law firms represent the different management levels at Microsoft and Bethesda and that such a deal for 7.5 billion US dollars won’t even go through in a few weeks.
There was recently speculation that Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella was bidding for TikTok
and didn’t get the bid, which is why they bought Bethesda instead. That’s nonsense – on the one hand, Tiktok would have moved into a completely different division within Microsoft and, on the other hand, we think it is impossible that the Bethesda purchase could be completed in just two weeks. Tiktok owner Bytedance had no interest in selling his US operation, but was forced to do so by an official decree by President Trump.
With the Bethesda purchase you also acquire numerous small, creative brands that have enormous potential in the Game Pass – like Prey from Arkane Studios.
What is surprising about this deal is the price, because to Microsoft, Bethesda is worth almost as much as Ubisoft – its stock market value is 8.8 billion US dollars. There are several good reasons for choosing Bethesda anyway:
1.) Microsoft lacks exclusive blockbusters that Bethesda has
The Xbox studio family has so far been significantly weaker than that of Playstation, you had to catch up here for the launch of the Series X and that’s exactly what the Bethesda deal does: The Elder Scrolls is one of the most profitable gimmicks of all time – according to our information, Skyrim had are correct, a development budget of $ 85 million plus a marketing budget of $ 50 million and has made $ 2 billion to date. But what is much more important for Microsoft: It is still loved by the community. Not only has it been bought by 30 million people on the many different platforms to date, after all, Skyrim was originally released for Xbox 360 and PS3, but was also released as a remaster for PS4 and Xbox One, and was also released for Switch. It’s also still loved and cared for by its modding community for a whopping nine years after its release on November 11, 2011. You can also use it to buy the brands Doom, Rage, Quake, The Evil Within, Wolfenstein, Fallout, Dishonored, Prey and others.
The likelihood that a large percentage of these 30 million players will subscribe to Game Pass to enjoy The Elder Scrolls 6 is very high.
2.) Bethesda is the storytelling forge and that’s exactly what Microsoft is missing
All of the great games of this generation, an Uncharted 4, a God of War, a The Last of Us Part 2 shone above all with their great stories. Sony’s Studios are experts in storytelling across the board, while Microsoft Game Studios have their strengths more in racing (Forza Motorsport & Forza Horizon) and experimental multiplayer games like Sea of Thieves by Rare. If we look at the history of Xbox One exclusives, the main thing that strikes us is that Xbox lacked large single-player blockbusters: The Rome epic Ryse was technically brilliant, but it couldn’t attract the masses as originally planned. Quantum Break had its moments, but its physics mechanics weren’t nearly as strong as a Control. In addition, Microsoft’s studios tend to work very slowly: 343 Industries, for example, only delivered a halo of this generation with Halo 5: Guardians, which is not enough if you want to compete with the annual blockbusters from Sony. We can only speculate as to why that is, but the Xbox One launched in 2013 – one halo in seven years is not enough. This is exactly where Bethesda can help out, because you not only have Bethesda Softworks, which are responsible for Fallout and The Elder Scrolls, but also Tango Gameworks, the studio by Shinji Mikami, which recently provided new accents in the horror segment with The Evil Within .
First 120 FPS Doom on Xbox Series X? You could do it
3.) Bethesda is a shooter & action powerhouse
One could debate for a long time what a software accident Fallout 76 was, which should never have been thrown on the market, but one thing can be said: Bethesda’s action adventure and shooter are excellent across the board: It doesn’t matter whether we are talking about Wolfenstein: The New Order & The New Colossus or Doom Eternal, these are great shooters. And Dishonored is a really strong action-adventure series that fits perfectly into the Game Pass. Prey also had its moments – it didn’t sell very well, but it’s actually a very creative game, which borrows so slightly from a Half-Life 2 when you look at its playful physics. Because the Game Pass is like Netflix, you catch up on everything you have missed in recent years. Dishonored 2 already looked strong on the Xbox One, in native 4K and 120 FPS we will definitely try it out on our Xbox Series X as part of our planned test series.