Column: Bethesda sale surprising, alarming

Logan Raschke

Here’s another tally mark to add to the shocking number of reasons why 2020 is probably one of the strangest, most unpredictable years in history: Microsoft is buying Bethesda.

This means the game franchises we love dearly, such as The Elder Scrolls, Fallout and DOOM among many more, will soon be owned by Microsoft.

That is very troubling.

Microsoft announced Tuesday that it’s slated to purchase ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks, for a whopping $7.5 billion — $3.45 billion more than Disney paid for Lucasfilm, the company that owned the Star Wars franchise.

Bethesda ranks third in a list of Microsoft’s largest acquisitions, according to GeekWire: Microsoft purchased Skype for $8.5 billion in 2012 and LinkedIn for $26.2 billion in 2017.

After the announced purchase, Microsoft owns 23 game studios, according to The New York Times. Sony, one of its biggest competitors, owns 15.

Bethesda, a beautiful, unique feather, is now in Microsoft’s enormous cap.

Microsoft’s eagerness to purchase game studios (and other companies) makes the company seem more and more like a monopoly every year. Monopolies are rarely in the consumers’ best interest, but Microsoft still has lots of competition (at least for now), as PC Gamer reports.

In one way or another, I believe this is going to really hurt Sony.

Like other console gamers, I totally expected to purchase “The Elder Scrolls 6” and other Bethesda titles on the next PlayStation console. From now on, classic Bethesda game franchises to release in the future will likely be Xbox exclusives.

Additionally, Sony’s PS5, which will be released on Nov. 12, is going to cost $499.

Yikes. At that price, consumers might as well purchase gaming PCs and (almost) never have to worry about buying a console again.

And now that Microsoft is buying Bethesda, what I’d argue was the one triple-A independent game studio that really set itself apart from everything else in the industry, what incentives are there to purchase the PS5? Besides the PS5 exclusives?

The high cost of the PS5, the economic recession and Microsoft’s purchase of Bethesda are likely going to decline Sony sales big time.

What I’m most concerned about is the fate of “The Elder Scrolls 6.” I was already uncertain after Bethesda’s latest travesty, “Fallout 76,” but now I don’t know what to expect.

In my Feb. 5 column, I mentioned how desperate I was for “The Elder Scrolls 6” to be great. While information about the game has still been sparse since its 2018 teaser, I don’t feel very reassured that Bethesda will make up for the “Fallout 76” fiasco with “The Elder Scrolls 6.”

It scares me that Bethesda is getting bought while the game is in development.

In any case, Microsoft’s purchase of Bethesda is a huge change for the gaming industry. I hope it’s a good one.


Logan Raschke is a senior journalism major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or lrraschke