Microsoft can’t plan Bethesda’s future yet, says Xbox chief

The company must wait until the deal officially closes

Xbox head Phil Spencer has confirmed that Microsoft has not started planning the future of Bethesda Softworks, as its deal to acquire ZeniMax Media has yet to be completed.

Read More: Five games we’d love to see out of Microsoft’s Bethesda purchase

During an interview with Gamereactor, Spencer explained that neither he nor Microsoft can directly influence the future of ZeniMax Media and its subsidiaries because the acquisition has yet to be finalized. He noted that it would be “illegal” for him to do so, noting that the deal must first go through “regulatory approval” from regulatory agencies.

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“I would like to say that we haven’t acquired ZeniMax. We have announced our intention to acquire ZeniMax. It is going through regulatory approval and we don’t see any issues there. We expect early in 2021 the deal will close,” he said. “I say that because I want people to know, I’m not sitting down with Todd Howard and Robert Altman and planning their future. Because I’m currently not allowed to do that, that would be illegal.”

However, Spencer also revealed his long-term goals for the deal, saying that he wants the studios under ZeniMax’s roster to “create the best games they’ve ever created” with Microsoft’s support.

Phil Spencer Xbox Series X
Phil Spencer, Executive President of Gaming at Microsoft. Credit: Christian Petersen / Getty Images

Microsoft’s planned acquisition of ZeniMax Media and its subsidiary studios was first announced in September, and is valued at US$7.5billion, making it the biggest gaming deal in history.

Elsewhere in the same interview, Spencer revealed that he is open to the possibility of Xbox Game Pass launching on PlayStation and Nintendo consoles in the future. He noted that the company’s main priority is “reaching more players”. While he’s not certain that PlayStation and Nintendo users fit that demographic, he’s “open to those discussions”.

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Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass service is currently available on Xbox One, PC and Android. It will also be available on Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X when the consoles launch in November.

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