With the news that Microsoft has acquired Bethesda, the companies offered a reminder that first-party games are available on release day through Game Pass.
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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. You may never have to actually purchase another Bethesda game again.
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.“
In a roundtable interview following the announcement, Bethesda Game Studios‘ Todd Howard said that some people from Microsoft have seen Starfield. But don’t expect it to debut anytime soon. He also mentioned that he likes to wait „as long as possible“ to show his games.
The press release makes no such specific mention of Elder Scrolls 6–which 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 are fair game. In that specific game’s case, it is coming to Game Pass on October 1 for both Xbox One and PC. Any sequels to these or the company’s many other franchises will hit Game Pass too. If you have an Android device and Game Pass Ultimate, you’ll likely be able to stream them on the go, too.
A note from 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.
Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VI were both announced far earlier than we typically see from Bethesda. During its E3 2018 presentation, the games both received title cards and extremely brief teasers. We know almost nothing about them two years later.
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. With so many Bethesda studios releasing games, a Game Pass subscription could help you save a substantial amount of money. With streaming access via Game Pass Ultimate, it’s even more impressive.
There are two Bethesda games that might not come to Xbox Game Pass, too–Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo, both of which were announced as PS5 exclusives before this deal went through. Whether they will eventually make their way to Xbox now is unknown.
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. Goo luck in managing to track one down!