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Bethesda needed Microsoft more than Microsoft needed Bethesda

KAL2006

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Yes another topic on the acquisition. But I think people have focused way too much on Microsoft and not enough on Bethesda.

Bethesda hasn't really been doing well for quite a few years. Their focus on single player games hasn't been as successful as Sony's. They even did a save single player campaign and yet after that campaign their games still haven't sold all that great.

Fallout 4 sold well but I think even Bethesda knows they are falling behind when it comes to RPGs with Unisoft adding RPG elements to their games, same with God of War. Finally Witcher 3 just made their games seem so outdated. Although Fallout 4 felt like a fossil when it came out it still managed to sell well, but it was a sign of a downward trend for one of their most popular IPs. Then came Fallout 76 and that was a critical and commercial failure.

Let's move on to Skyrim, that was a outstanding RPG for the time, and people still love it to this day. However if the next Elder Scrolls is basically a Fallout 4 type sequel then I don't think it would be critically successful. As the industry has improved so much with open world games since the original Skyrim. Bethesda still has yet to show any gameplay with the next Elder Scrolls so it's anyone's guess how much of a jump the next Elder Scrolls is compared to other games in the industry.

So that's 2 of Bethesdas IP that are still successful but have potential to go wrong if they don't make decent sequels. But now let's move on to their games that have actually haven't sold so great even though they have been rated high with critics. Prey, Dishonored 2, Dishonored Death of a Outsider, The Evil Within 2, Wolfenstein New Colossus, Youngblood, Cyberpilot, Rage 2 all haven't exactly set the sales chart on fire. I think if Bethesda studios carried on as they were they would have shuttered Tango Gameworks, Machine Games, and Arkane. It was obvious that they were not confident with sales from these teams and led to things like time exclusive deal for Deathloop with Sony for extra marketing.

The only Bethesda IP I cannot faulty and has been doing great is the Doom franchise.

People giving Microsoft slack for purchasing Bethesda don't understand that if Bethesda continued the way they were we would have had studios shuttered so it's a great thing Microsoft bought Bethesda. It's better than what Sony does where they pay for franchises time exclusives to keep games off their competitors. With this Microsoft is still taking a risk and buying these studios and eating their costs for developing their games. Games like Dishonored 2 and Wolfenstein are perfect fits for Gamepass where sales don't matter as much.
 

Kagey K

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It’s a partnership that took too long to happen.

They credit MS for saving their company during Morrowind, and MS has done everything they could to help make them a success since then.

It seems like this should have been one of those natural partnerships that should have lined up since then, but they never did...... until now.
 

tassletine

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And they're both largely concerned with the movement of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were.

(D.A.;)
 

Zok310

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If they manage the studio right they should be able to pull off a comeback, but i agree, with the big hitters they really took last gen off.
I fully expect MS in a year or 2 to get rid of redundancy and merge the best of Zenimax together. All this talk about keep them as is, is just pr speak.
 

Gandih42

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I've been thinking the same thing OP. At least when it comes to Bethesda developed games. I'm not sure how well Prey, Doom, and Wolfenstein (barring Youngblood) sold but they at least perform very well critically and didn't seem to be commercial flops in any way.

Considering how extensively Bethesda has been trying to monetize their games (paid mods, Fallout 76 MTX and subscription, GaaS Youngbloods etc.), it could indicate that they were struggling with covering their costs. Could obviously also just be that they wanted to squeeze their IPs for more money, but it seems like a big risk to take with an important IP like Fallout.

In addition, their development cycles seem very very long (Starfield and ES6) which still haven't shown anymore than a logo and teaser. Also it seems like there's always trouble with that goddamn engine they use. Not saying they were in the verge of closing down studios, but I wouldn't be surprised if they've been struggling a bit in the last few years, living off the coattails of Skyrim and some of the excellent output from their other studios.

I hope this is a win-win for Bethesda and Microsoft and that Elder Scrolls 6 will be a return to form.
 
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KAL2006

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Man, the Microsoft astroturfers have really been earning their overtime here.

I like great discussions in forums, if you check my post history you would know I'm a Sony guy. So instead of one sentence replies how about a nice discussion, why you disagree with me, you still think Bethesda studios will continue on with their bad sales and why they had to seek out time exclusive deals with Sony etc. Let's try to have a nice discussion, I like reading gaming forums but with random one word replies or or replies like yours don't really help for a nice discussion we need better quality posts in NeoGAF.
 

KAL2006

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How many salt threads to we need?

Any clarification for this and how it was a salt thread and what led you to the conclusion of thinking it is a salt thread?

Before replying there should be some thought put into your posts. And some good discussion instead of short answer replies without any clarification.
 
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Handy Fake

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It's a good point actually, was talking to my brother about this yesterday.
Although any way you cut it, they really overpaid.
 

The Scrivener

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Came here for the salt. I'm disappointed. Thread isn't nearly salty enough for my liking.

*sprinkle sprinkle*

Sony needed Bethesda more than Bethesda needed Sony which is why Bethesda went to Microsoft.
 
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Bonfires Down

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I don’t think Bethesda themselves were at risk. How many games could get the same hype as a new Elder Scrolls or even a new Fallout? But I do think some of their peripheral studios could have been at risk of shutting down.
 

oldergamer

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The fact you compare bethesda to sony, a completely unnecessary move on your part. It does nothing but invalidate your opinion, and makes this feel like a salt thread.

MS bought more then just bethesda in this.
 

Handy Fake

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I have to ask. What are you basing your "they really overpaid" claim on?
Well, I should have added "in my opinion", yes.
It just seems a grossly large amount considering other deals, if you get me?
Bethesda as a developer have been hitching somewhat recently with Fallout 76 and wotnot, and while their studios like ID have great games I don't think they sell as well as they ought to?

Don't get me wrong, it's a Hell of a powerplay to have ES and Fallout under their belt but that's essentially all they've really paid for? Starfield is an unknown quantity as of yet.

Again, this is just my opinion after a few days of ponderment.;)
 

TheBigG753

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Bethesda was definitely hurting if you read the tea leaves. They were doing that "Save Single Player" campaign a few years back, and I don't think any of them sold to expectations. I was actually a bit surprised that Arkane and Tango were making new single-player IPs, as I fully expected Zenimax to shift those studios over to working on Fallout/TES properties in the interim. I thought Arkane for sure would become the off-cycle, "New Vegas" developer so they'd have a new Elder Scrolls or Fallout game quicker than relying solely on BGS. In hindsight, it makes total sense why Deathloop and Ghostwire Tokyo have timed-exclusive deals w/ Sony attached to them, Bethesda needed those deals to mitigate the financial risk. If they didn't get acquired by somebody soon, it was inevitable that there would either be studio closures, or they'd all be working on TES/Fallout content. AAA model just isn't sustainable if you don't have annualized franchises that reliably bring in $$ year in and year out.
 

cormack12

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Bethesda's limitations (from my perception) have been the investors and shareholders trying to treat strategy like a buffet. They haven't really committed to a direction, trying to safely gauge which direction to go in. The advantage of this is now Microsoft and Bethesda have a choice of what to pursue. With those shackles off, I expect a lot more focused content to come from them, I think they will also get a lot more marketing support from MS which will give them a 'boost' for release day sales/downloads.



Elder Scrolls Online is doing extremely well despite a terrible start but those numbers continued to grow. Surpassing the likes of GW2, it's only 30% behind Destiny 2 on player activity, which is 'massive'. Fallout 76 is another story but they are persisting with it. So in terms of as we move to a GaaS model more and more, they already have two popular IPs in a state ready to make that transition or 'grow' over the next generation. It also falls in line with MS having the GaaS on multiple platforms

Established single player IP they have in TES, Doom and FO can become exclusive AAA system selling games.

New IP like Starfield, which is highly anticipated - despite being seen less than the PS5 - has got everyone on edge waiting for more details. Starfield is going to be massive. It really is.

Emerging IP like Dishonored, Prey, TEW can all be grown by Microsoft to be those supporting IPs like Infamous, Sackboy etc.

Limbo IP like Rage etc. will probably be retired or if the name has weight given to another studio to rework.


The most interesting thing for me is going to be the engine. Bethesda's creation engine is really good specifically for Bethesda games but most MS studio's are using UE. They've already committed for Starfield and TES VI to use Creation. I think the acquisition will be liberating for the studio's personally, and I do genuinely think the quality of games will benefit as a result.
 
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TBiddy

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Well, I should have added "in my opinion", yes.
It just seems a grossly large amount considering other deals, if you get me?
Bethesda as a developer have been hitching somewhat recently with Fallout 76 and wotnot, and while their studios like ID have great games I don't think they sell as well as they ought to?

Don't get me wrong, it's a Hell of a powerplay to have ES and Fallout under their belt but that's essentially all they've really paid for? Starfield is an unknown quantity as of yet.

Again, this is just my opinion after a few days of ponderment.;)

It's a lot of money. But with that, you get two separate engines (idTech and Creation Engine), a lot of IPs and and a stream of games coming out 'soon' to bolster your Game Pass/sales. Add to that Orion (streaming tech) and it all adds up.
 

PaNaMa

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I think it's a good for both companies, and really good for us gamers. Hell of a lot of IPs in the Bethesda stable, tho I agree recent efforts in the Fallout universe have been lacklustre. Having Bethesda and Obsidian and their games on game pass tho? Big win for Xbox fans imo. Like game pass is all I will probably ever need hah.
 

Handy Fake

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It's a lot of money. But with that, you get two separate engines (idTech and Creation Engine), a lot of IPs and and a stream of games coming out 'soon' to bolster your Game Pass/sales. Add to that Orion (streaming tech) and it all adds up.
It is absolutely true, yes. But it doesn't add up to 7.5 Billion. ;)
Again, just my opinion! :D
 
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Handy Fake

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I'll happily admit that I have no idea if it adds up to that.
I will say that if they've paid to offset the income for not having those games come to PS5, then I can see it hitting that.
But that would be a madness move to me?
EDIT: They had $450 million in sales the first week Skyrim was released, across all platforms obviously. I can certainly see that bolstering the price but it seems like such an odd move to essentially pay Bethesda their losses for keeping it off the largest console platform?

Business is weird.
 
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GymWolf

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If they can renew their old ass engines and having actual betatesting thanks to M money and in the meantime having a stable output of great games i think the deal is pretty fucking mutual.

M get the games from their gamepass thingy and all the money from selling these games at full price to sonyboys and bethesda get to actually not being a complete joke in term of day one releases quality.
 

KAL2006

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The fact you compare bethesda to sony, a completely unnecessary move on your part. It does nothing but invalidate your opinion, and makes this feel like a salt thread.

MS bought more then just bethesda in this.

That is actually the best comparison as both Bethesda and Sony have made quite a few singleplayer focused games in the past few years. Excluding Doom, none of their games have sold as much as God of War, Spiderman, Last of Us 2 and even Days Gone. Another comparison would be Capcom who have been doing quite well since after Street Fighter V flopped. My thread isn't a salt thread it's implying through my careful analysis many of Bethesda studios were not getting the sales they deserve in particularly Arkane, Tango Gameworks and MachineGames. Seems like some posters here just love the taste of salt and seeing salt everywhere when they shouldn't. As for my conclusion I think this is a great purchase for both Bethesda and Microsoft and my reason for this thread was to say Bethesda wasn't going to be doing very well if they didn't find someone to get aquired by based on my analysis. I've back this up by pointing this out on the OP what exact games that didn't sell well. Even Sony shuttered studios that didn't sell well like Evolution.
 

Guilty_AI

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Next on the hitlist...Valve
I doubt this happening any time soon honestly. They're in too much of a good position to give up their autonomy.
The two of them are getting more chummy than they were in the past though, altough Valve is still supporting Linux which might indicate they're still cautious about a knife in the back.
 
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Croatoan

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Wait you guys played Fallout 4 without mods? That's hilarious...My fallout 4 experience was amazing, but then I basically turned it into a more tactical shooter like Ghost Recon Wildlands (with projectile physics and everything!) to make it play the way i wanted it too. I also used ENBs to make it look extremely good, and I still got 72fps (max for bethesda games)!

Extensively Modded Fallout 4 was basically my favorite fallout and my favorite RPGLight of this generation.
 
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McCarth

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I don't disagree with you, but doesn't that make this a pretty risky purchase? The perception here at GAF seems to be that this was a megaton move that is bringing MS' in-house development talents on par with Sony and Nintendo...

But if Bethesda and their devs/IPs were struggling as is prior to the purchase, what's going to be different?
 

vaibhavpisal

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Price is too high for a company in dire need of capital investment.

MS wanted it under their umbrella at all cost.
 

Emedan

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It's a lot of money. But with that, you get two separate engines (idTech and Creation Engine), a lot of IPs and and a stream of games coming out 'soon' to bolster your Game Pass/sales. Add to that Orion (streaming tech) and it all adds up.
Creation Engine is worth less than my morning stool.

I do agree with the sentiment of the OP though. Bethesda was missmanaging itself into oblivion.
 

KAL2006

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I don't disagree with you, but doesn't that make this a pretty risky purchase? The perception here at GAF seems to be that this was a megaton move that is bringing MS' in-house development talents on par with Sony and Nintendo...

But if Bethesda and their devs/IPs were struggling as is prior to the purchase, what's going to be different?

They have a new engine Id tech. They also have 3 popular IPs, Doom, Fallout and Elder Scrolls. Dishonored, Prey, Evil Within did decent critically they just didn't sell well. With a bump in marketing for these types of games Microsoft don't really need to change much. These games serve Gamepass well where they get quality content and sales don't matter so it's great for Microsoft and the studios who don't have to think about how many sales they get. The only big risk factor is will Bethesda turn it around with the next Elder Scrolls and the new Starfield game, I think with a engine change and Microsoft assistance maybe they can. Especially now that Microsoft have other WRPG studios too. They even can get a bit of expertise on Fable and Avowed as well from Bethesda.

It's a risk purchasing them but because of Gamepass model I think the risk isn't that bad as say Sony purchasing them.