When Microsoft walked over to ZeniMax Media with a big fat wallet and acquired all of the things, there was plenty of speculation on what it meant for the various studios’ titles, from Fallout to Doom to the Elder Scrolls franchise at large. And while the oft-repeated line of whether new games arriving to non-Microsoft platforms would be considered on “a case-by-case basis” is once more repeated here, an interview with Bethesda Game Studios’ Todd Howard insists that the acquisition is a net positive for ZeniMax’s studios, the various IPs they steward, and for gamers in general, primarily for one major reason: the Game Pass subscription program.
In the interview, Howard likened Game Pass’ relationship with game IPs to how subscription services like Netflix brought more investment to certain types of TV shows, where previously networks would chase things that were cheap and easy to make that turned a fast profit.
“Subscriptions came along and now you see the quality and investment in dramas or historical fiction series. That’s where creators are able to go and create these things people want and it makes sense for everybody: the people paying the bills, the people creating it and the people consuming it. That’s what we see happening with games with things like Game Pass.
“Take classic adventure games, they now have real life inside a service like that. Those are games that really don’t make a lot of economic sense at $60, or maybe even at $30 if someone’s going to play it for five or six hours, but in a system like that it makes complete sense. It drives a lot of people saying ‘Hey, I got to experience that and I wouldn’t have any other way,’ and the creators got to make it without the burden of ‘Will this be successful? Will we get to make another one?'”
Ultimately, Howard believes that Bethesda and Microsoft’s interests align with regard to granting access to games to more people as easily as possible, whether it’s through services like Game Pass or through traditional retail means. “My hope — and you’re seeing it happen, which gives me great joy — is that all of those avenues are starting to be successful,” said Howard. “The next generation, the next five or ten years, is really about bringing access to games very easily to everybody, no matter where they are in the world or what devices they like to play.”
On a case-by-case basis, of course.