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A hot potato: News that Microsoft will buy ZeniMax for $7.5 billion, giving the Windows-maker control over massive IPs such as The Elder Scrolls, Doom, and Fallout, rocked the gaming industry. Opinions seem split as to whether this is a good or bad thing, but two people firmly in the former camp are John Carmack and Todd Howard.
By purchasing ZeniMax Media, Microsoft will bring Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, Arkane, Machine Games, Tango Gameworks, and more into its stable.
This could spell bad news for PlayStation owners; Microsoft will honor PS5 timed exclusive games including Deathloop and GhostWire: Tokyo, but Xbox boss Phil Spencer says future console releases—as in those not on Xbox—will be decided on a "case-by-case" basis, so games including Starfield and The Elder Scrolls 6 could be exclusive to the Xbox Series X (and PC).
John Carmack, the co-founder of id Software and the lead programmer of Doom, Quake, Wolfenstein 3D, and more, has welcomed Microsoft's move. He was an employee of Bethesda after ZeniMax acquired id Software in 2009, but the relationship turned ugly after he resigned in 2013 and became CTO at Oculus. ZeniMax alleged that Carmack stole trade secrets and was using them to develop the Rift VR headset. It filed a lawsuit against the company, and Carmack later responded by suing ZeniMax for $22.5 million. The matter was finally settled in 2018, but the bad blood remains.
"I think Microsoft has been a good parent company for gaming IPs, and they don't have a grudge against me, so maybe I will be able to re engage with some of my old titles," tweeted Carmack.
Great! I think Microsoft has been a good parent company for gaming IPs, and they don’t have a grudge against me, so maybe I will be able to re engage with some of my old titles. https://t.co/GijQGEL4tZ— John Carmack (@ID_AA_Carmack) September 21, 2020
The idea of Carmack returning to work on some of the franchises he co-created is an exciting one, but it's all just talk right now.
Todd Howard, director and executive producer at Bethesda Games, is equally enthusiastic about the deal. He says that Microsoft would help share the studio's "deep belief in the fundamental power of games," calling the company Bethesda's "longest, and closest partner."
This can now actually become reality pic.twitter.com/azmvB4Wwut— Nibel (@Nibellion) September 21, 2020
"Like our original partnership, this one is about more than one system or one screen. We share a deep belief in the fundamental power of games, in their ability to connect, empower, and bring joy," Howard wrote. "And a belief we should bring that to everyone - regardless of who you are, where you live, or what you play on. Regardless of the screen size, the controller, or your ability to even use one."
all of Bethesdas games coming to game pass is a pretty insane value. no interest in buying an xbox but getting gamepass for pc seems like an easy choice— 9 V O L T (@9_volt_) September 21, 2020
Giving Microsoft so much power over the gaming landscape is a concern, but the good news for PC owners who subscribe to Xbox Game Pass for PC is they'll be able to play titles from ZeniMax's subsidiaries on launch day, which is another good reason to sign up. There's also the enticing possibility of Fallout: New Vegas 2.