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One Year On: Bethesda and Microsoft

It’s probably one of the biggest announcements the gaming industry has ever seen. Microsoft had bought Bethesda, and the full impact of that announcement still hasn’t been felt.

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One of the biggest PlayStation exclusives of the year is a Microsoft game. That’s pretty funny. Starfield will be exclusive when it’s finally available, and that’s pretty cool too.

But as of today the immediate effects have not been felt.

With one major exception: we know Xbox is coming to play.

Bethesda Joins Microsoft

It was a little over a year ago that the announcement was made. It sent the internet into a suitable state of shock. To the point where, even today, there are people who can’t accept that it happened. The Elder Scrolls will still come to PlayStation, Fallout will be a Nintendo exclusive and Starfield doesn’t even exist – yeah, right.

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I exaggerate, but the questions surrounding this purchase just go to show how huge a buy it was. And it’s opened the door to conversations we didn’t know were possible.

Today, one year on, the best we’ve had from the deal are promises, some FPS boosts and some great Gamepass additions. Oh, and a top-rated game released on the competitor platform.

And so even now it’s difficult to say just how big a deal this will be. I’m not sure we’ll know for definite for years to come. If Indiana Jones is exclusive – the last great question mark of this deal – then it might start to sink in. When The Elder Scrolls or Fallout start to happen, it will begin to sink in. When Starfield revolutionises the modern RPG, it will start to sink in.

But the Bethesda purchase was important in other ways too – it needed to show that Xbox were no longer mucking about. And it worked.

Please Stand By

Microsoft began the generation by makiong the biggest publisher purchase ever. They have repeatedly talked about their commitment to the gaming industry. Game Pass has changed the way many of us consume our games.

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And while Sony has little to show for the holiday season, Microsoft is going to be pushing new entries in the Forza and Halo franchises.

If you’d have said this stuff a year ago – especially about the holiday season – you’d have been laughed off the web.

And yet here we are. And much of this change in perspective on Xbox and Microsoft began a year ago with the Bethesda purchase.

Anybody will tell you they’re not quite there yet. There’s still a long way to go. But the conversation is changing. And when the conversation has been one-sided for so long, it’s incredible that we’ve even come this far.

And so we ask what comes next? Rumours of more acquisitions appear once a week. Third party deals are begin worked on as we speak. The line-up for the coming years are looking extremely good and, for many of us. we already have access to those games.

And that’s the point here: the chain reaction has begun. We’re a year into it. And all Microsoft have to do is not screw it up.

It should be a slam dunk. But the company built by Windows has failed with better certs than this before. What they do next is very important.

But that Bethesda announcement changed the conversation forever.

 

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blank Mat Growcott has been a long-time member of the gaming press. He's written two books and a web series, and doesn't have nearly enough time to play the games he writes about.

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Twitter: @matgrowcott    Google Plus: matgrowcott