As of this week, Microsoft officially owns the whole ZeniMax family. Bethesda sits at the head of that table, but the group also includes id Software, MachineGames, Arkane, Tango Gameworks, and ZeniMax Online Studios. That's a huge library of games, and Microsoft isn't wasting time in putting them to use: 13 of the best games Bethesda has published are being added to Xbox Game Pass for PC this week.
If you're new to it, Xbox Game Pass for PC is a $10/month subscription that lets you download and play anything you want from a library of over 100 games. There are some drawbacks: Microsoft's platform typically hinders mod support to a degree, and if you stop subscribing, you lose access to all of the games. Still, it's a great value if you want to play through a bunch of singleplayer games that you don't necessarily plan to come back to, and the addition of 13 games from the Bethesda library makes it even more attractive. (Although you may find the Netflix-ification of gaming pernicious even as you appreciate that value, so that's something to consider.)
Here's the list of Bethesda games coming to Xbox Game Pass for PC this week:
- Doom (1993)
- Doom 64
- Doom 2
- Doom 3
- Fallout 4
- The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind
- The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion
- The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim Special Edition
- The Evil Within
- Wolfenstein: The New Order
- Wolfenstein: The Old Blood
You'd probably have to subscribe for the rest of the year and beyond to play through the singleplayer portions of all those games (well, depending on how you live), but you'd still end up spending less than you would if you bought a few of them à la carte, especially when factoring in the $1 for the first month offer.
You might see news that 20 Bethesda games are actually coming to Game Pass this week, but on PC that's not exactly the case. In part, that's because several Bethesda games are already available on Game Pass for PC: Doom Eternal, Fallout 76, Rage 2, Dishonored 2, and Wolfenstein: Youngblood.
One mild disappointment: Fallout: New Vegas and The Elder Scrolls Online will be added to the console version of Xbox Game Pass, but the PC versions aren't joining the Game Pass library. In the case of Fallout: New Vegas, I might have guessed that the issue has to do with the particulars of some old contract between Bethesda and developer Obsidian Entertainment, but Microsoft also bought Obsidian in 2018, so I have no idea why it isn't included.
It's also a little weird that Doom Eternal is on Game Pass, and now the original 1993 Doom is joining it, but 2016's Doom is nowhere to be seen.
PICTURED BELOW: 20 ICONIC #BETHESDA TITLES YOU CAN PLAY TOMORROW pic.twitter.com/UPuIzBIFnCMarch 11, 2021
Another minor detail is that New Vegas, Morrowind, and Oblivion won't be available on mobile devices, which is to say, they're not available to play with Microsoft's cloud streaming beta on Android devices. The other games are, but only if you subscribe to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which gives you access to the Game Pass PC and console libraries, plus Xbox Live Gold and an EA Play membership. (It's only really worth it if you have an Xbox console.)
It's also worth mentioning again that the mod scenes are a huge part of the appeal of some of these games. If the Game Pass versions are in fact limited to mods available in the Bethesda Creation Club, that'd be a bit disappointing. At the moment, we're not totally sure what mods will or won't be supported for any one of these games. We'll ask, but don't expect comprehensive support.
That aside, if you just want to play through the Elder Scrolls games from Morrowind on or the new Wolfensteins, and you aren't too worried about tinkering, this is a good way to do it cheap.
All of these games are being added to the Xbox Game Pass library this week, on March 12. To see everything else in the Game Pass for PC library, here's our list of all the games on Game Pass.
One final related note: This was all announced during a livestream, and at no point during the stream was the Bethesda.net launcher mentioned. It wouldn't be too surprising if it were going away, given that Microsoft already has a Windows store and the Xbox app. We'll see.