Host, Xbox's Major Nelson
NARRATOR: Here's to the journey, the unforgettable adventures, the epic quests, the decades of discoveries. We found each other through a shared passion for games. More than just a company, a family with an unwavering belief in people and what we could make together.
For the last 35 years we've grown from a small basement in Maryland to studios and offices around the world.
[MUSIC - AC/DC, "IT'S A LONG WAY TO THE TOP (IF YA WANNA ROCK 'N' ROLL)"]
Together we brought our dreams to life, worlds that inspired creativity and chaos-- worlds where players are free to leave their own mark from snow-covered peaks to the fiery depths of hell, to post-apocalyptic wastelands and beyond.
MAN: (SINGING) It's a long way to the top if ya want to rock and roll. It's a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll.
- Thank you so much.
NARRATOR: So here's to the games we've made and to the games we'll make tomorrow. Here's to staying true to the vision that inspired it all, a legacy built with love, respect, and a dedication to excellence. Here's to you, for being there with us through it all
MAN: (SINGING) It's a long way.
- Merci beaucoup.
MAN: (SINGING) It's a long way--
NARRATOR: A new chapter has begun. Here's to the journey just getting started.
[ROCK MUSIC PLAYING]
- Hi, everyone. This is Aaron Greenberg, the Head of Games Marketing at Xbox. We are here at the headquarters of Bethesda in Maryland. It is a truly special day. And we wanted to take you behind the scenes to hear from the creators, hear from the team members about what it means for Bethesda to join Xbox in this roundtable.
And with that, I'm going to turn it over to the Head of Marketing and PR at Bethesda. You know him, Pete Hines.
- Good to see you, sir. Thanks for coming out to see us.
AARON GREENBERG: Good to be here.
- Thank all of you for joining us. I want to start by introducing our colleague who couldn't make the trip out here but is going to be joining us on the roundtable today, and that would be Bond, Sarah Bond, joining us all the way from the other side, Head of Partnerships at Xbox.
That was pretty good. You have to introduce yourself like that--
- That was awesome.
PETE HINES: --to everybody, right?
- It's good to see you, Pete.
PETE HINES: Good to see you. Thanks for joining us. To my right here, we have two Aarons. We decided to stick all of our Aarons over on this side of the room to make it really easy to keep track. In addition to Aaron Greenberg, we've got Erin Losi, our Vice President of Global Marketing Communications.
This gentleman needs no introduction. All of you should know who he is. Phil Spencer, thank you for coming out to see us.
- Thanks for having us. It's exciting.
PETE HINES: And speaking of people who need no introduction, legendary game developer and my good friend, Todd Howard from Bethesda Games.
- It's to see you in person.
PETE HINES: Finally.
- The fidelity is sick. Is this a Teams call?
PETE HINES: It's like a year ago that we got--
- He's already doing Microsoft ads.
- Definitely not a plug.
- Good plug.
- Are we getting royalties on those plugs? How does this work?
AARON GREENBERG: Had the second dose of the Kool-Aid. That's good.
- So as Aaron said, we're here today to talk about this amazing partnership of Bethesda and Xbox coming together. And I want to start, Phil, with you. Because you're the one who made all of this happen and had the vision for what this might be. And I wonder if you could start by sort of giving us your own words on, how did this all come about?
PHIL SPENCER: Yeah. What an exciting time for our fans. I see it in the community. I see it in the industry. People want to know what's going to come. We're bringing all of these creative teams together.
We know that gamers play games. And we knew our focus on our first party and our ability to build great games for Xbox fans was critically important to, not only where we are but where we're going. And the conversations we've had with you and the team here over the years have been instrumental to what we've done to date. So the opportunity to strengthen that relationship even further, starting now will just be awesome.
PETE HINES: We're finally here. Like I feel like we've been building towards this day for ever.
- Because we got a lot of questions, all of us, over the months about, well, what are you going to do here? What are you going to do here? And we said it a couple of times but I'm not sure everybody heard it.
PETE HINES: They didn't believe us.
- We weren't able-- like, there was no decision-making going on between the organizations. You guys have been running as Bethesda for all this time. Like you said, it seems like it's been a long time. We've been running as Xbox. So now we can actually start sit down and really build our plans together. And I can't wait. It's awesome.
AARON GREENBERG: Yeah. This is day one.
PHIL SPENCER: Yeah.
AARON GREENBERG: But it is fun to see. People just can't believe it's real. Even the official announce, like seeing fans retweet, "I still can't believe this is real," and the excitement of what this means for gamers, what this means for dev teams. Like, for us, like we could not be more excited. We've worked with you guys for years. We've been fans for years, but now, like, we're family, and that's a really exciting thing.
- First of all, it's just incredible to be sitting next to you in person after so many months of team calls and getting to know each other. So thank you for both taking the time to come out and join us here in Rockville.
Todd, as someone who's been here since almost the beginning, I'd love your perspective on what this means to you.
- It's a lot of emotions, a lot of excitement. It's also-- it's just surreal. I have to be honest. Like, even if it wasn't COVID and we're doing all of this, just this moment in our company's history would be surreal for myself and everybody who's been here for a very long time.
Our company has had a lot of chapters. But when I think about it, each of those is marked by doing that with many of the folks at Xbox through every generation of consoles and technology. And when we sort of thought about what the future would bring, the games that we want to create, Phil is someone I'm always calling and bouncing things off of. And as we talked it became clearer and clearer that this kind of partnership was where we wanted to go with all the games we were doing.
- Well, speaking of partnership, we have a Head of Partnership sitting right there. Sarah, this is something obviously you've been a big part of at Xbox. What was your take on how this process evolved and the idea of, hey, you know, Bethesda joining Xbox, becoming part of the same team. What were your thoughts when you first started hearing about it?
- You know, in a lot of ways it was very similar to what Todd just said. You know, always from the beginning, whenever we were thinking about our plans or our vision for gaming or what we wanted to do next, you guys were the first people we called. Like, we would run things by you. We would have really great discussions about the vision for gaming, the future of Xbox. And in a lot of ways it was something we formed together.
And one of the things we did out of that, right, is you guys were early supporters of Game Pass. And you worked with us and you gave us feedback. And we got to just see together the incredible value it creates for, both players and creators. And that really was the natural evolution that created the opportunity for this awesome partnership for us to come together and be on one team. And so, just how you say, think of the future of gaming, and you didn't see a future of gaming without Xbox. We just didn't see a future for Xbox without Bethesda.
- Now we know you all have a lot of questions. We've gotten a lot of questions since we announced this deal. But one of the biggest ones, Phil, is this question about exclusivity and how you think about that and how that's going to work with Bethesda.
- Yeah. I see it. I see it in the community. I listen to the podcasts and all the questions. So I'm going to try to be as clear as I can, because that's what-- it's fair. So obviously I can't sit here and say every Bethesda game is exclusive, because we know that's not true. There's contractual obligations that we're going to see through as we always do and every one of these instances.
We have games that exist on other platforms, and we're going to go support those games on the platforms they're on. There's communities of players. We love those communities and will continue to invest in them. And even in the future there might be things that have either contractual things or legacy on different platforms that we'll go do.
But if you're an Xbox customer, the thing I want you to know is this is about delivering great exclusive games for you that ship on platforms where Game Pass exists. And that's our goal. That's why we're doing this. That's the root of this partnership that we're building. And the creative capability we will be able to bring to market for our Xbox customers is going to be the best it's ever been for Xbox after we're done here.
PETE HINES: OK, Sarah, so Phil was just talking about Game Pass and how important that is to Xbox. You're obviously heavily involved in Game Pass. Talk to us a little bit about what folks can expect here in the near future.
- Well, we're just getting started, right. But as part of that, one of the things that we're excited about is, starting tomorrow, 20 games from Bethesda are actually going to be available in Game Pass, which is just awesome and represents, just the beginning of the collaboration across our team.
So we're actually going to be posting this in social. People can go check it out. All the games are going to be available. And it's just the beginning of some great things to come.
PETE HINES: And to be clear, that's across all of our studios. We've got eight studios around the world-- every kind of game you could imagine, RPGs, first-person shooters. No matter what you're into, you need to check Game Pass tomorrow, because, man, there's an awful lot of content going in there.
PETE HINES: And I think folks are going to love it.
TODD HOWARD: You think about the future there. I think what people don't appreciate-- consumers see Game Pass as like, just give me games. I have lots of games. But then as a creator, it really unlocks some things that maybe you wanted to do, or will just find an audience? Or there's certain types of games that maybe in the past could kind of get lost sometimes.
And having that kind of avenue to make a game and release the game opens up so many things-- a lot of things that our company and all our studios, they really, really love to do. From the creator side, it's also just awesome.
AARON GREENBERG: Well, I have a coworker that literally has gone on and on with me about Fallout 76 and saying, I went in and started playing Fallout 76 when it came into Game Pass and I've been thrilled with the community and just like how supportive it is. And it's like arguably one of the healthiest gaming communities out there, especially for new players. And that's been a great benefit to hopefully having more players in that community.
TODD HOWARD: It really is. And 76, while you mentioned it, is something where, it's another sort of point in my mind with our relationship where, when that game launched, you know, the litany of issues we had. And we just let a lot of people down. And, well, there was very little we didn't screw up, honestly.
And one of the people that I called was Phil. And I said, hey, you know, there's so many things we're dealing with. What advice do you have? And he put me in touch with some people at Xbox who were able to look at all of the games in the system and what was important and what wasn't important to the other games that made it for the long haul. And that kind of advice really, really helped us. And now, seeing 76 be one of the most played games on Xbox, we're just incredibly fortunate to be there.
SARAH BOND: Yeah. Game Pass allows creative freedom. And we have seen that with all of the creators that we've worked with with Game Pass across the ecosystem. It's one of the things I think is most beautiful about it, is it actually gives you access to an audience that you may not have otherwise been able to reach. It's helped games that people may have never discovered actually get played. And it's actually empowering creativity. And I just think that that's a cool thing. And it was cool to hear Todd say it too.
- So obviously games is a big part of what we do here and how we interact with our fans. But I think the way that Bethesda chooses to approach how we talk to our fans, how we interact with our fans is a big part of who we are, which you've obviously been a huge part of since you've been here. Talk a little bit about that.
- Yeah. I think it's about dialogue, right. It's about a two-way conversation with our fans. And we never want them to feel like we're talking at them, because that does nothing for them and it does nothing for us.
| as we host events, whether they're digital or in person, it's about the whole experience. Who do they get to talk to? Who do we get to talk to? It's not about just turning a certain number of people through a kiosk to put their hands on a game. I mean, that's obviously an important part of it. But I think we look at it as, the people are just as important as the games.
And having the opportunity to work with you, Aaron, over the last few months and planning, it's just so refreshing to see how aligned we are in our approach to treating fans.
AARON GREENBERG: I agree. I'd just love to say, like, it's been incredible to see your obsession with fans and how much you kind of start there about putting yourself in the eyes of the gamer and how they'll react to things and how you've shaped things, how you thought about things, and how you've not been shy about telling us, like, less of this, more of that.
ERIN LOSI: I have not been shy at all.
AARON GREENBERG: It makes us better.
ERIN LOSI: I think we had like a little fight over email in our first two days. No, it was-- we tell it how it is. I think authenticity is a big part of who we are too.
ERIN LOSI: I won. I definitely won.
- Todd, I wanted you to talk a little bit about something that you preached a lot when I first got here in '99, which is a willingness to throw stuff out and start all over again. You sort of championed this idea that you can't be beholden to any feature that's in your game before. And when you hear Phil talk about how rapidly things change in this industry, I think a lot of what we do as Bethesda comes from you in terms of your approach to development and being willing to try new things, to push boundaries.
TODD HOWARD: You know, one of our mottoes in the studio, and it came in the company for a while, is, great games are played, not made. You can have the best design. You know, this is genius idea but you never know how it's going to feel. Like what makes something fun in your hands?
And when we think about the future of games and our ability to make them, that doing this together in this kind of partnership-- it's going to sound cliche, believe it or don't believe it-- but we have a firm belief that we're going to make the best games we could possibly make by doing this.
So whereas I think it's great to have all of these games under one umbrella. Like what does that mean at the end of the day to the games you're looking at? It's, for us, they're going to be even better than the way we were going to be doing them. And that's the ability to tap into everything at Xbox, to tap into everything that we've done in the past and solve those problems, really together.
PHIL SPENCER: And something I want to build on there. Our aspiration is to have literally billions of people experience the great games that both our teams build and our partners. And through the power of our console and PC and xCloud and that continued growth that we have, my aspiration, my goal, my hope is that the next games that come out of Bethesda will be the most played games in the history of the studio's organization.
It is about reaching more players. As you say, it's about games that are played, and finding those players, wherever they are. As we continue to expand the great capability of gaming to more and more people, that I think is just-- that's going to be so fun to watch as people around the planet get more and more ability to experience the things that Bethesda's capable of building.
PETE HINES: Hey, Sarah, so when Phil starts talking about this ecosystem and widening the number of people that are able to play games like ours, obviously as somebody who's in charge of partnerships, that's a pretty giant undertaking in terms of the number of people that you're now dealing with.
What is Bethesda being part of Xbox now do for you in terms of the partnerships that you're making and how you're able to grow Xbox beyond its current boundaries to something much bigger and broader?
- Yeah. I mean, it's just like this fundamental acceleration to our vision. Like, the ability to actually make it possible for someone to play Bethesda games on any device, if it's PC, if it's console, but also a mobile device or any other type of smart screen in the future is just incredible.
And partners look at you guys partnering with us and they feel even more passionate about that vision. And so it just it dramatically accelerates our ability to just reach players around the world.
TODD HOWARD: Can I jump on that a second?
PETE HINES: Yeah.
TODD HOWARD: Like for us, our old games, seeing them get out-- we used to worry that, like, unlike movies or other forms of entertainment, gaming has this technology barrier where, can I experience the old ones? And I think gamers-- I hope they appreciate, but they don't appreciate much the technical marvel that the backwards compatibility is on the system.
The fact that you can load up Oblivion, the first game Aaron and Losi and I worked on together, and run it in 4K on your Xbox now. And that's on Game-- for a creator to have that still have life is just awesome.
PETE HINES: That's great.
AARON GREENBERG: And the teams are already working on adding FPS boost to a number of those titles too, which I know we're going to announce soon-- not today, but soon.
PETE HINES: Ooh.
AARON GREENBERG: But that's right. Without having to touch the code, you can basically take backward compatible games, take full advantage of the new hardware and get things like FPS boost as just another win for gamers.
- OK. So we did say that we were going to be, like, light on news. This is not a news event. But we talked about Game Pass. And folks are going to want to know, like, hey, when are we going to get some information on what you all are doing together now that you're starting? So, Los, Greeny, what can they expect?
SARAH BOND: Well, one, I want to get through today first before we start planning that.
PETE HINES: That's an admirable goal. I like it
- We've been having lots of discussions.
AARON GREENBERG: We are deep in planning mode. And it's been awesome, because even as we've talked about-- we think about content, we think about how we produce things, like, we actually use a lot of the same teams. We think about stuff in the same way.
So even the process of-- people don't realize but when you go-- historically it was like the E3 event or whatever. You put on a show, you do a digital thing. Like, people don't realize that that takes months and months of preparation.
And so we are in that planning phase. We are looking at content. We are thinking about content. So now that we are officially one team, this is sort of the opportunity now for us to move at even a more accelerated pace. But it's been fun.
- Greeny's dancing. He's not giving an answer. What's the date here?
- We'll have something this summer.
PETE HINES: This summer.
PETE HINES: Thank you, Losi. Perfect. Thank you. OK. You heard it from Losi. You're going to hear it this summer. We're going to take a look--
ERIN LOSI: Summer officially ends when? I just want to give--
PETE HINES: Whenever. It's all over the globe.
- OK. All right.
PETE HINES: So we're going to let Sarah and Todd get back to work, and we're going to be joined by Matt Booty, Head of Xbox Game Studios and Todd Vaughn, our Senior Vice President of Development right after this community spot.
- I'm going to move this.
- I'm at QuakeCon 2018.
WOMAN: Our fans are the most important aspect of our games.
MAN: This is their world. We created it but it's their world.
MAN: It is pretty amazing to have a community that's been around for this long.
- Here's a little shield. It's very heavy.
WOMAN: This community is full of so many passionate people.
- I can't wait to play this.
MAN: There are people who love the games that we love. So they're very important to us.
MAN: The community inspires us to push ourselves even more.
WOMAN: They're not just players. They kind of become your friends and they become a part of your life.
MAN: Each time we make a new game, they're there, ready to jump into these worlds and experience them with us.
MAN: They're a family in a way. And this becomes the Bethesda family. And I'm just proud to be a part of it.
- Oh my god!
- Oh my god.
PETE HINES: Welcome back. So that was a look at some of the amazing fans and their creations around our games and studios. And what a great segue, because games and studios is what we're here to talk about.
Joining us from Washington is the Head of Xbox Game Studios, Matt Booty. Matt, welcome.
- Hi, Pete. How are ya?
PETE HINES: Good. Matt, for folks who may not be familiar with you, tell us a little bit about what you do, your career, how you got to Xbox? Tell us about Matt Booty.
- Well, I've got-- yeah, I've got the great privilege of working with all our teams across Xbox Game Studios, all the teams, all the studios, all the great people coming up on 11 years here at Xbox, working with the team and working with Phil.
And I had the good fortune to work on things like bringing Mojang into Xbox, and also many of the studios that we've added over the last five to six years.
PETE HINES: Sorry, that studio-- you said Mojang? It sounds familiar. Do they make anything? Oh, the Minecraft.
- Small team.
- Maybe Minecraft. Maybe you're heard of it.
- Just a little thing like Mojang. And Phil was mentioning that you're kind of the kalamari of studios, that basically you've added how many studios now to the Xbox Game Studios? Six?
MATT BOOTY: Yeah. Well, we've grown quite a bit. We're at 15 now. So we've added seven over the last few years.
PETE HINES: Wow. Seven.
AARON GREENBERG: More than double.
- That's one of many nicknames Phil's got for me.
PETE HINES: It's the only one I was told I was allowed to use during this. So we'll go with that one. Well, Matt, thank you so much for joining us. Great to have you here.
And also with us is my longtime friend, the man who's responsible for me being at Bethesda. Todd Vaughn recruited me--
MAN: I didn't know that.
AARON GREENBERG: --to Bethesda back in 1999. Our Senior Vice President of Development, Todd Vaughn. TV, I view you as the biggest unknown secret in this industry. You're a genius. And I want you to explain to folks who you are, when you got here, your background.
- I actually started in the games industry with PC Gamer Magazine. This was in the '90s. And I got recruited to join then Bethesda before ZeniMax. So it was just right before. And I joined Bethesda to basically scout games and to be a biz dev to help on the publishing side of the business.
And it's one of those phenomenon where once you get the fish, you got to clean 'em and you start going down that path. And I ended up being a lot more involved in the production and the development.
And as ZeniMax was forming, Robert came in and started ZeniMax and had a mission and an agenda. And right out of the gate, the first part of the mission was to really set up our internal team, Bethesda Game Studios and put them on a path for success.
PETE HINES: Matt, I want to ask you, when you look at the kind of studios that Bethesda has and the kind of games that we make, what is it about what we do that resonates with you, and that makes you feel like it's such a good partnership? And we've been sitting here talking about what a great partnership it is. But from your perspective, head of development, you get to work with all of these studios. How do you see all of those things combining together in sort of a common DNA?
- You know, if you look at some of the commonalities of all the studios that we've acquired over the last few years, I think the thing that stands out is that so many of them are creator-led. The founders are game designers. The founders are game creators. And most of the culture flows down from that creative aspect, from that game design aspect.
I think Todd Howard said it earlier. You know, games aren't made, they're played. Right. And I think that that resonates with most of our studios. As we've been having sort of get to meet you calls and spending more time with all of the Bethesda studios, it really has stood out that that's the same for your studios. That they are creator-led, they're design-led.
And they also have such a focus on the players and bringing the players into that design process, making sure that once a game is out there even that as it evolves and as it grows, community. With community being such an important part of what we do these days, I think that's another real similarity that we've just got a real fan focus, a real player focus. And that connects all the way back up to the top, where all of our studios really start first with the creator, the designer, and the game idea.
AARON GREENBERG: I think as part of that, Matt, a lot of people don't realize, but you've set up the structure as you've added Ninja Theory or Obsidian or In Exile, all these different teams. Like, to allow them to have, like, almost like stay in a bubble so they still have that ability to go create what they want to make. Like, we don't tell them what games to make.
But how would you describe that environment and how you've learned from the Mojang piece? And then how will that apply as we think about integrating the Bethesda teams into our first-party Xbox teams? How do you kind of think about that and how that makes better games?
- You know, I think back to the Minecraft Mojang days. I think we were just a few days into it. And our CEO Satya Nadella said something, I think it was in an email. He said, you know, we have as much to learn from them as they have to learn from us. And that always stuck with me, that our job isn't to come in and sort of force a culture on them.
Games-- I like to think about-- it's almost like a greenhouse, right. The environment in which they're designed is so important and so critical. And the last thing that we want to do is upset that. So there's very much a, keep your eyes open, keep your eyes open. What do we have to learn from this group of people that have been making games for five 10, 15, 20 years? There's obviously a lot to learn there.
ERIN LOSI: We were talking yesterday, TV and Pete and I about synergies between studios. And I obviously, having worked here for a long time, know about a lot of them. But he was even bringing up stuff that I didn't know about collaborating and learning from one another.
And TV, I was hoping you could just share how we operate and share tech and ideas. Because I think it's pretty interesting.
- It frankly has evolved organically. I think that idea of sort of like central planning and everybody being given or provided directly from central sources isn't quite the right approach, especially as how we've grown. We grew organically. We added teams over time. They came in with different bits of knowledge that we really didn't know that some groups had and some groups didn't.
So we had to kind of figure things out as we went. And it led to sort of a lot of little happy surprises and collaborations that frankly you wouldn't plan for. There's some little known facts of teams who've worked on other products. MachineGames is probably one of our most successful teams from a collaboration standpoint. They've probably worked on everything.
PETE HINES: Pretty much at this point. Yeah.
TODD VAUGHN: Even before-- I think it was probably either right before or when we were acquiring MachineGames, they were already working on Skyrim.
MAN: Of course. I didn't know that.
TODD VAUGHN: Yes. Yeah, yeah. Fantastic team. There's an enemy that's in Doom 2016 that Tango made that I don't think anybody realizes.
PETE HINES: Including Losi and I.
ERIN LOSI: Yeah. That's the the one that I was like, wait, what?
TODD VAUGHN: Yeah.
ERIN LOSI: I thought I knew everything.
TODD VAUGHN: And a lot of our secrets that we have-- like, so, oftentimes it's like if people have some downtime, some cycles, they'll want to participate or collaborate. And we share them evenly across teams and allow them to do that directly.
And then we have the more obvious ones like Arkane Lyon and MachineGames collaborated on Youngblood. It's a lot of collaboration.
ERIN LOSI: And I think it largely stems from them- they're just fans of one another's work. Right?
TODD VAUGHN: Yeah.
- Like, it's not that you have said, OK, I need you to go over here, over here. And we'll hear from a lot of those studio heads later today, and I think that you'll see that and hear that in their own words about really admiring one another's work and that it does feel like a family.
PETE HINES: Well, one of the unique things we do that most folks don't know about-- Erin, I wonder if you wanted to tell folks about is like on what we do at the midwinter meeting. And that every developer and how they present, that's just not something that happens. Talk a little bit about it.
ERIN LOSI: Yeah, I mean it's the most special time of year. And that might sound cheesy, but it's true. I mean, everyone that works at Bethesda is so passionate. Like, what better week could you spend than checking out really early looks at all the wonderful things that the creators are making.
So it's not just taking a look at what each other is doing. It's meeting, the teams meeting with one another and sharing stories and techniques. And it's--
PETE HINES: Or getting super excited for each other's projects. The folks in Arkane start freaking out when they see, you know, the next MachineGames title, or they all get to see Doom Eternal for the first time when it's been in development for six months.
ERIN LOSI: And we use it in marketing too, to look at things and say, you know, what's resonating? You know, Summer shows take many months of planning. So we always use that as well as kind of a first litmus test. Like, well let's let everyone in the company see it first and give feedback.
AARON GREENBERG: I love that. It's like you're making a recipe and there's like a head chef, but you've included everyone in the kitchen to kind of contribute and taste and contribute.
- Lots of people in the kitchen.
- Yeah. The Midwinter thing is great. So I will tell you, Matt did something very similar with his teams. And I love the name of this meeting, Matt. Can you talk about the best meeting and, like, what that is about? Because I will tell you, that is my absolute favorite meeting. And I just, like, the collaboration of what comes out of that and the spirit of that is something really special.
- Yeah. I think best actually stood for something. We used to do-- call 'em quarterly reviews, but it turns out that we weren't reviewing and they weren't happening quarterly.
So we decided--
PETE HINES: It was a great name otherwise, other than it having nothing to do with the meeting.
MATT BOOTY: For me, they really are the best meeting. Because all we do for an entire morning is review work in progress, a lot like Aaron was just talking about. So everybody brings the latest that they've got. We kind of cycle through all the studios. Sometimes it might be early concept work. Sometimes it's actually playable material. And it's just a great chance for everybody to get feedback.
Hearing about the mid-winter meeting, I think it was November 2019, before we stopped being able to travel. But we had all of our studio heads together. And I remember just walking into that room thinking, wow, this represents, I think, something like 300 years of combined experience running studios, working on games together.
So it's really exciting when you get that sort of critical mass together of creatives. And I think it's made it pretty fantastic as we figure out how, for the first time we can get all of studio heads, Xbox and Bethesda together, and whether that's the best mid-winter meeting or the mid-winter best meeting. I don't what it's going to be. But it'll be fun we can just get everybody together in one place, and as you say, kind of get that creative synergy going.
PETE HINES: You know, as I listen to Matt talk about this previously, about sort of sparking that enthusiasm, that passion, that 300 years worth of experience that the studio heads have, that you are looking to bring together these folks who have a passion and then give them tools and resources.
Not just, hey, why don't you to make a game together. But, you know, TV, we've talked about studios going to each other for, hey, I want my guns to feel more like they do in the Id game. Or we're working on some new feature in our game that's new to us, kind of like Greeny was just talking about. But that is a big part of--
- It's absolutely a big part. And even to the point of the mid-winter meetings, as much as it is an ability to kind of show what we're working on and, you know, show the progress to the company and be excited by that, it's also kind of like a mini-GDC, a game developer's conference where you can actually get from world recognized experts on a topic.
And so we'll have a little breakout sessions and meetings and summits. And, you know, we've also looked to expand those throughout the year because it is a phenomenal resource. We have some incredible talent in animation, in AI, in engine and rendering technology. And, you know, let's put some of that to use.
PETE HINES: Yeah. And they get to see it, and they start asking questions, emailing other programmers. Like, how in the hell did you do the-- we've been trying to do that forever. And so, I mean, I think that kind of stuff is exactly what we're looking for here.
And when we talk about, like, what this partnership might look like, it's not formally in saying, we now want you to work with them on this. It is just simply putting people in front of each other who might be trying something they've never done in a game or trying to come up with a new way to do something that they haven't before. But that's really where you find that.
- And we don't put barriers up to prevent it.
PETE HINES: Right.
- That's really the magic. It's like, we want to create the connection so that people can find it and build those relationships, because they last and they're durable, and they'll stay for a long time.
PETE HINES: Well, and I think all of this, Phil, goes back to something that Matt said before, which I love, which is Satya's email saying, we have as much to learn from them as they do to us. And honestly, like, that mentality that he brings and that you bring I think is what excites all of us. Because you all are so willing to embrace that and say, look, you don't have to have every answer. You don't have to have it all figured it out. Let's just talk and see if there's opportunities here.
OK. We're going to stop there. Todd and Matt, thank you both so much for taking time out of your busy schedules to come on and talk to us a little bit. I know you have a lot of studios and games to go work with, so we'll let you go.
As we start to introduce you to more of our family and all the different studios and games that Bethesda has and is bringing to the table, Los, you've been with me forever. You've worked with all of these studios. Where do we start?
- I'd like to start from just about the beginning. A studio that I've had a privilege to work with for many, many years now, and those are the men and women at ZeniMax Online Studios, the creators of the Elder Scrolls Online.
PETE HINES: A fantastic MMO. If you haven't played it, you're missing out. It's a massive world, a ton of content. You're an ESO player.
PHIL SPENCER: I am. And I'm always blown away by how big the world is. Like, as a player, and that's kind of my only association with it, other than just seeing how amazing it's doing on Game Pass right now.
But the amount of diversity in that world. I love playing. Great community. The players are so helpful, people helping me get through, leveling up my characters. Fantastic game. Can't wait to hear more from the team.
- Absolutely. It's been a huge success, amazing community, and let's hear more from the folks at ZeniMax Online right now.
- Hey, I'm Matt Firor, Studio Director at ZeniMax Online Studios or ZOS as we call it. Short history lesson-- back in 2007, ZOS was the first new studio at Bethesda, making us the test case for Bethesda being more than just a one studio publisher.
And unlike the others who came later, we were built from the ground up with a specific goal of creating massive online games. The first of which was to be set in the Elder Scrolls world. Back in the day, as a fellow DC area game developer, I knew Todd Howard and some others at Bethesda. So when I started at the company we had a relationship to build on.
And that grew stronger after spending my first few months with the Bethesda team working with Todd and Todd Vaughan to lay out the Elder Scrolls Online world, everything from picking the setting and timelines of the game to creating factions and determining storylines. This spirit of close collaboration stuck with me as I built ZOS. In fact, several people from BGS joined ZOS, including Rich Lambert, who's now creative director of ESO.
The relationships built with headquarters and BGS helped shape the kind of relationships we were creating internally as a studio group. We share a focus on studio-driven creativity which comes from the very top. And while we evolve separately, we always maintain that mutual trust with BGS, with headquarters, and later with the other studios in the extended Bethesda family.
In fact, we pitched in and help BGS with Fallout 76 and id with Doom 2016. But the most important shared cultural element that made us so successful has always been our core belief in ourselves that came directly from Robert Altman.
An example-- it's no secret that ESO stumbled when it launched in the beginning. But Robert didn't lose faith in us. "You guys are smart," he said. "It didn't go the way you wanted, so now you fix it."
And we did fix it. And some of you might not know just how successful we've become. We're one of the most successful virtual world fantasy games, period. Over 18 million users logging in from all over the world, three million new residents of Tamriel in just 2020 alone. ESO is huge, thousands of quests and so much content it's impossible to count the hours.
Obviously the credit to this success goes to the amazing and growing team at ZOS. But it was all made possible because Robert gave us the opportunity to realize our vision, and then build, refine, and adjust as needed. It wasn't always pretty and it definitely wasn't easy, but through it all, his belief in us and the promise of what we could deliver made us who we are today. And that extends to our future titles already in development.
Everyone at ZOS is looking forward to being part of the Xbox family. Our friends there have already told us how there's such huge fans of ZOS, not just in the games we're making, but the people too. We can't wait to show you what's next when the time is right.
AARON GREENBERG: Wow. I love that. I mean, it's so great to hear directly from the creator. And to think what they've achieved in seven years, right. And today they're the number one mulit-plat online role playing game in the world. And we've seen it grow on Xbox, but when it went into Game Pass it's just found a whole new audience.
PETE HINES: It's been a terrific journey. And again, that community there, you know, that Phil referenced and Matt Firor referenced is an amazing support system. If you feel like you're ready to make the leap, they're ready to help you and have a great time.
All right. So Losi said, that was a homegrown sort of internal studio that we started after Bethesda Game Studios. As TV mentioned before, the first acquisition we ever made was the creators of the first-person shooter genre in software, Doom, Quake. You know, I mean, it's unbelievable.
AARON GREENBERG: Even [INAUDIBLE]. I mean, let's be honest.
PETE HINES: They are the best of the best.
AARON GREENBERG: The first shooter I ever played on a PC, like on a floppy disk. How they got 3D graphics working back in the day, I mean, it's just-- and how they've taken that and modernized it, the reboot in 2016, Doom Eternal winning, you know, so many game of the year awards. It's just incredible the legacy that they've had. And I tell you, there's a lot of Xbox fans excited now.
PETE HINES: Well, when you talk about passion, it's hard to find folks who are more passionate than the folks at id software. So why don't we take a look at Marty Stratton and his amazing team at id Software.
- Hi, I'm Marty Stratton, Studio Director at id Software. About a month ago we celebrated our studio's 30th anniversary. It really is incredible to consider how much our industry has changed in those 30 years, and how many defining moments we've had the opportunity to be a part of.
Wolfenstein 3D and Doom created and helped popularize the first-person shooter genre of games. Doom and Quake were among the first games to foster and build large scale mod communities as well as usher in multiplayer gaming. And our game engines had been at the heart of key advancements in technology licensing, 3D graphics acceleration, virtual reality, and game streaming.
At any point in our studio's history, you could pull back the curtain and see a tight knit group of people that thrive on pushing creative and technical boundaries, hard at work, building fun first games with a meticulous attention to detail and craftsmanship. We couldn't be prouder of our people, our games, and our relationship with players.
You know, when Bethesda purchased it back in 2009, we were the first independent game studio they had acquired. Although any number of fundamental changes could have come from that, what was immediately apparent and hasn't changed in more than a decade, is that Bethesda shared that same pride and care for our people, culture, games, and community.
From the start, Robert Altman and the entire Bethesda team said, we want you to be yourself and do what you do best. Then they backed that up with the resources, stability, and support to make it happen.
Now game development is complicated and challenging. So it wasn't always smooth and almost never easy. But there simply wouldn't be a reboot of Doom in 2016 or its sequel, Doom Eternal, released last year without Bethesda's unwavering faith in the team at id. And it started at the top with Robert. His investment in our people and studio was always personal and genuine. You couldn't help but want to make him and the rest of the company proud.
Over the years, some of the most memorable and rewarding moments have come, and that pride is also shared with an incredible community of gamers at our annual QuakeCon event here in Dallas. In 2014 we debuted our vision for a new Doom to an audience of 3,000 fans. And because that was so much fun, we did it again in 2018 with Doom Eternal.
In both instances, the unbridled passion and enthusiasm for what we were doing has provided our team years of inspiration and motivation. As gamers, we see how important communities are to Xbox, so we can't wait for our new colleagues to experience their first QuakeCon.
Since acquiring it, Bethesda has added a number of other incredible teams to their family of studios, several of which we've been fortunate to work with more intimately. In particular, our friends at MachineGames are close collaborators on iD Tech and have done fantastic work with the most recent Wolfenstein games. We've experienced firsthand how valuable it is to share ideas, technology, and experience with our sister studios, and can't wait to now expand that relationship with Xbox.
As we like to say at the studio, we're grateful for all that has come before, but driven by what's ahead. We couldn't be more excited to start this new chapter with Bethesda and Xbox.
PHIL SPENCER: You know, the thing about Doom and id that I think-- we like to talk about the history of the studio, which is amazing. But you can see it in Doom Eternal. There's no studio that sweats every pixel on screen of every frame the way id does. Like, it's just so clear.
- It's like you spent time with them.
PHIL SPENCER: I spent time with the game that it just pops. Like, it's so clear. And then when you think about their capability, and I think about them collaborating and working and talking with the coalition and 343, and just, like, the first-person shooter or third-person shooter space that we have, the studios that are there, it's just kind of an amazing capability.
The other thing I get really excited about with id that we haven't really talked a lot about is the future of iD Tech and what could that mean inside of Xbox? Obviously, you know, we've got a ton of studios doing a bunch of different work. I love the way Marty talked about how they've collaborated with other Bethesda studios on iD Tech. And I just think about that to the next level. Like what can we do inside of our organization with iD Tech, which is one of the world's best game engines out there, and just make it a tool that so many developers can use to realize their vision.
- With id it's amazing because we didn't just get this incredible library of IP. We got all these amazing people who are so meticulous, as you can tell through their games. But we also inherited things like QuakeCon. And it's been very special for me to work at that event. And Marty mentioned showing off Doom 2016 to 3,000 people. I was there and I can tell you that the excitement was off the charts.
PETE HINES: It was religious. It was like a religious experience.
ERIN LOSI: It was. And the cool thing about that event and about the team is that those 3,000 people were the first people in the whole world to see the game. You know, we didn't do some big media event. It was like--
AARON GREENBERG: Fans first.
- --fans first. And these are the kind of interactions that we like to have. They come to that show year after year. And so they were the people that we wanted to show it to.
PETE HINES: Well, and Los, as you were saying, sort of that two-way conversation. It's also important to point out, we showed 3,000 people Doom 2016 for the first time, not a single thing leaked from any one of them. We said, put your phones down. This is just for you. And every single one of them said, we get it. We love it and we're totally on board.
And like, to be able to have a studio to extend that level of trust to a fan base and have the fan base reciprocate and say, hey, we're down. Like, we won't take screenshots or videos. It's part of what I think makes all of this so special.
ERIN LOSI: One of my favorite moments over the last 16 years, for sure.
PETE HINES: For sure. And as we said, id Software was the first acquisition we made. But that sort of started the snowball pretty quickly. And shortly after that we had MachineGames come on board, both of the studios at Arkane in Lyon and in Austin. And then Tango down in Japan was sort of one, two, three right afterwards.
So let's probably-- let's talk a little bit about all of those studios coming on board and what they do. Because, you know Phil, you were just talking about shooters, which is something obviously id knows very much. But their tech and their work went across all of those studios I just mentioned. You know, MachineGames coming in and rebooting Wolfenstein this iconic franchise.
AARON GREENBERG: Yeah. Because the new order runs on iD Tech, Right
PETE HINES: Yeah. Everything MachineGames has done has run on iD Tech. And MachineGames collaborating with them set a standard for collaboration among studios that they then did with Arkane. So it was really interesting to see all of these folks come in together and sort of grab onto what we had started to establish with BGS and then ZOS and then id Software.
Hello I'm Jerk Gustafsson, Executive Producer at MachineGames. MachineGames just turned 10, and we are still amazed at the opportunities we've had to make our own unique style of games, and the incredible community of players who enjoy them.
When I think back to the earliest days of Bethesda, long before we became part of the family, I believe Bethesda's culture really began with the creative freedom and support for Bethesda Game Studios and the games they make.
Robert Altman always understood the value of allowing creatives to be creative. That we in our studios are the owners of what we do, so we always feel deeply invested in everything we make. Of course that comes with its own pressures. But from the very beginning we knew Bethesda would always have our backs. In fact, everyone here felt that trust instantly when we opened.
And we were trusted to take Wolfenstein, this iconic and pioneering first-person franchise created by id Software and give it a fresh start. We wanted to make it our own, while still maintaining that id software DNA of fast-paced action shooters with a somewhat violent theme, but made with a sense of humor.
As a huge fan of id Software and given their history with some of the most classic and best shooters in the world, it was very important for us to develop a Wolfenstein that brought that legacy forward. While the shooting part still is core to the experience, at MachineGames our focus is on the roller coaster ride, bringing together different parks and features to make the full experience something special.
An important part of that is the storytelling, and we made our mark, building a diverse cast of characters who surrounded our version of BJ Blazkowicz, as he fought Nazis around the world.
- You still got some Nazi fighting killing skills up in here?
- How we laid out the plans for our first game, Wolfenstein, the New Order is a memory very dear to me. We, the core team and the founders of MachineGames got to spend free hot summer weeks in Mesquite, Texas at the id Software offices. Having access to the experience and the knowledge about the franchise that our friends over at id had was extremely valuable while we made our first iterations on the story and the structure of the game. I still consider it the career highlight that I, during that time, had my very own id Software email address.
Since then we have made several Wolfenstein games. And over the years we managed to build a rather close relationship with our sister studios-- id Software of course, but also Arkane studios in Lyon, with whom we share a special relationship since we're both located in Europe. We share a similar studio culture and overall development approach, which makes it really easy and also very fun to work together.
We feel a connection to Tango in Tokyo as well, and we enjoy the opportunities we have to help each other out with development support, and to learn and to share ideas with other creative and talented world-class teams at Bethesda.
And now at this very moment we are, of course, extremely excited about their work on the new Indiana Jones game in collaboration with Todd Howard, one of the greatest creative minds in gaming. It is a true privilege to be in this business, a business that is constantly evolving.
And if I look back to when I started modding Quake near 25 years ago now, it's different in so many ways, but still as fun and rewarding as it was back then. Talking about it, we actually have a Quake mod group that get together every Wednesday evening here at MachineGames, and it's so fun. And team building events like these really shows how passionate we still are about gaming, as high as it ever was. And I know that passion will be supported by Xbox in the same way that Bethesda has supported it too. Thank you.
- I'm Harvey Smith, Studio Director and Co-Creative Creative Director at Arkane Austin. Early on when we're working on Dishonored we had these meetings at Bethesda to sort of pitch what we had done, show off the most recent milestone.
And there was a moment when one of the execs asked about some of the stranger elements that we had in it, the sort of 1850s steampunk or gaslamp kind of stuff, and complimented it, really liked it. And we looked at each other at the time and said, you know, we're kind of been holding back. We love those elements too. We think they're what make the game really distinct.
And the advice we were given wasn't, be conservative or be safe. It was like, double-down on that. And so once we were given that green light we just rolled hard into what people started calling the whale-punk aesthetic of the game.
the tough games that we work on, you know, they're a blend, the first-person shooter and RPG, not fully one or the other. But there's something distinct, something in the middle. We love simulated elements from the AI to the physics to the player's powers and movement abilities, and the way those things can interact in manners that we didn't even foresee. The environmental storytelling, the locations that we put so much love and lore into.
There are also characters in all our games that are very important to us. Mindy Blanchard was an important character for us. We launched a game with Billie Lurk, which we very proud to do. We love that character.
Standing on the stage at the Bethesda Showcase and announcing to the world Dishonored 2. And we rolled out Emily Kaldwin as a protagonist for the first time. It was just super exciting moment. And the response we got from players, especially women, who at the time didn't have as many representational avatars, all of that is just super important to us. It's not quite the same game that any other person would make. And to have the right partners that support us through that is just critical.
And it's really the culture that Bethesda set up, that Robert Altman set up that makes us feel safe to run in the directions we want to run in. So for us, being part of Xbox is very similar to when Arcane first joined with Bethesda. You know, it was like, hey, here's a partner we trust. Here's a partner who wants to make good games. And it's just like, you can't do creative work unless you feel like somebody has your back, somebody's setting up the right environment for you.
And at the end of the day, at the end of your career, it's not about which awards you won or how much money you made. It's really about those moments when the players tell you what it was like for them to experience a particular character or a particular combat or a particular stealth moment. It's just so powerful when they talk about how the game has impacted them in their lives.
Our goal is just to keep doing what we love and keep making players happy.
- Hi, I'm Dinga Bakaba. I'm Game Director at Arkane Lyon. And I believe I have a different perspective to share. Because I joined Arkane after Bethesda acquired us. I joined a studio that I admired deeply because they made a very specific type of game that some called immersive sims.
And I will admit I was concerned. Would Bethesda allow Arkane to keep doing the kind of games we make?
NARRATOR: The beloved empress dead, and everyone thinks you're the killer.
- And as you can see, the answer is yes. I quickly learned that Bethesda acquired Arkane because they believed in the kind of games we make. But now we had more means, we have more firepower. It was the opportunity to step up our game, basically. And, yes there was challenges. There was hard discussions. But it was always with the goal of making the best Arkane games possible.
So I also remember our first mid-winter meeting. It's where the heads of studio gather together in Maryland. They present their current projects to the entire company. It's when I discovered Skyrim and Wolfenstein the New Order, the Evil Within, Elder Scrolls Online. You know and yes Dishonored was there and we were super proud of showcasing it.
So my first thought was, wow. And the second one was, to myself, we are not the exception here at Arkane. All these studios are doing exactly what they should be doing, each in their own way. And over the years I've gone from admiration to actually working with those studios.
We've collaborated with MachineGames several times, helping out on the new Colossus, co-developing Youngblood, which is nice because it was always a choice, not a demand. We made connections. We shared our mutual admiration. And it was an opportunity to learn from each other, while supporting each other's artistic vision and goals.
But I do have one major challenge that might only get worse as we join the Xbox family. I still get pretty starstruck around my peers. Like, for instance, I've become extremely awkward when I talk with Todd Howard or Shinji Mikami. And maybe they cannot tell because I'm so French, but it's pretty bad. So, yeah, I just want to warn everyone that Xbox. Now I get to be weird and awkward with you all.
- Hi. I'm Shinji Mikami from Tokyo, Tango Gameworks.
We look forward to joining the Xbox family. Thank you.
ERIN LOSI: First of all, I just have to say, it's so nice to see all their faces. I know it's on video but I miss them all. I've had this unique privilege of being able to travel the world to spend time with these studios. And, I just, I don't know if everyone knows that we have all these studios around the world. So it's--
- And we have this interesting thing where we look for some sort of common DNA, I guess you would say, in terms of what they're about or what they're trying to do. But you can also tell in listening to these folks, like, well in one video you've got the guy who invented survival-horror, some folks who took Wolfenstein, which had no dialogue, and suddenly it's got tons of story and character, and Arkane what they do. Like, it's that sort of being able to diversify while still having some of the sort of core DNA and some shared identity.
PHIL SPENCER: Yeah. Definitely as you're watching all of the pieces, you feel some common threads that come out. One is trust and confidence. Robert's mentioned a lot, the way that Bethesda supported teams to do new things.
And we've said this in Xbox as we've been planning for this moment for so long. This is an opportunity for us to learn as an organization, from a team that's done work incredibly well. You've worked with such a diverse set of studios, giving them a sense of confidence. And you heard the stories that allow them to go and try new creative things in different ways, not stay safe.
Like that's the goal as a platform holder and the aspiration that we have. We don't need 15 games that are trying to do the same thing. We would like to try 30 different things across 15 different games. It's even more now when you think about all the studios.
So I love just listening and learning from what you and the teams have built, and hearing the sense of confidence that the teams have of, we can go try to do new things. We can go work with another partner that we have and learn from that. Really amazing work. And I just can't wait to learn more and more about how you've done that over the years.
PETE HINES: Now I do want to highlight one thing which is, we have two more studios that we haven't talked about yet. And there's a reason for that, which is, well they're not working on games that we're ready to talk about, and they were just acquired. But we need to mention our colleagues up in Wisconsin and in Nova Scotia as well.
ERIN LOSI: Yeah. So Roundhouse Studios joined us last year. And like Pete said, they're in Wisconsin. And then we also added another mobile studio to the family called Alpha Dog. And so we're not quite ready to talk about what they're up to.
AARON GREENBERG: Ooh, I like it. A team's that working of secret projects. Come on.
PETE HINES: Plus they have amazing hockey jerseys. Alpha Dog make studio-- well they're in Nova Scotia. And they're the envy of everybody else.
AARON GREENBERG: Ski Texas and Nova Scotia.
PETE HINES: We cover everything.
AARON GREENBERG: Phil's ready? Right? I'm ready to go to Tokyo.
PETE HINES: OK.
PHIL SPENCER: Yeah. I mean, to go see Tango, a studio that I have such respect for the history of the creation there. I've talked a long time about our desire to have more of a first party presence in Japan. This is a great step there. So, I mean, just thinking about the map of where these teams are and just talking about all the games they're working on. But I can't wait to spend more time with the Tango team and get to know them.
ERIN LOSI: You may have forgotten about one important studio that we haven't heard from yet.
- Oh, Bethesda Game Studios. You wanted to talk about them?
ERIN LOSI: Yes. I know we had Todd here with us earlier, but Ashley also shared some messages with us about the studio there and their thoughts on this partnership.
- Hi, I'm Ashley Cheng, the Managing Director of Bethesda Games Studios.
On behalf of the over 420 developers across all our studios in Montreal, Austin, Dallas, and Rockville, I'd like to thank the leadership team at Xbox and Microsoft for the warm welcome to the Xbox family.
You know, when we started 20 years ago we were like an indie rock band, a small team of around 40 developers. And we have the complete freedom to make the kinds of open world role-playing games that we're known for today.
This amazing studio that I'm privileged to work at is a testament to the leadership of our creative visionary and studio head, Todd Howard. It's also a credit to Robert Altman, who we will miss very much. Without his trust and support, we would not be the studio we are today.
One of the reasons for our success, we've made a lot of games together. I believe the value of a team is the sum of the problems they've solved together. The more games shipped together, the stronger the team gets.
After Morrowind, rather than immediately work on a direct sequel, Todd had a grand vision for what our studio could be. And we asked ZeniMax if we could spend the next four years to make our next game. As always Robert and the rest of ZeniMax gave us the support and trust to accomplish that vision.
The next game was Oblivion, and that was the start of an amazing industry-leading run, not just for us but also for Bethesda and ZeniMax too. Today the team working on Starfield have all worked on several open RPGs together. This shared experience and chemistry doesn't happen overnight. It takes a long time and it is a lot of hard work.
Our relationship with Xbox starts back at or indie rock days too. We are working on Morrowind and we weren't sure if in anyone would want to play this kind of game on a console. But the Xbox team said yes and they were supportive from the start. They even though did the disc layout for us, which is something we had no experience doing.
Ever since, Xbox has been a great partner, always ready to help solve problems like figuring out how to optimize performance and push the hardware as much as we can, to pushing other boundaries like letting our modding community share full Skyrim and Fallout 4 mods on Xbox.
Since Morrowind we watched ZeniMax grow all around us. We grew too as a studio, and as more and more studios joined the family. We have worked with ZeniMax Online Studios from the start on the Elder Scrolls Online, a relationship that continues today. What they've accomplished with that game is remarkable and a huge inspiration to us.
The spirit of mutual admiration and support has been an important part of ZeniMax across all the studios. We have all contributed in big and small ways to each other's games, and we continue to be each other's biggest fans.
As we work on our next generation of games, we can think of no better place to be than here at Xbox. No matter how crazy the idea, the team at Xbox always says, yes, let's try it. On behalf of everyone at BGS, I want to thank everyone who played Morrowind back in the day and every game we've made since. Sincerely, thank you for playing our games. We couldn't have done it without your support, and we hope you are excited to see all the great things we're working on for the future. Thank you.
PETE HINES: So, Phil, as Ashley mentioned, obviously a big part of our relationship really is owed to the Morrowind product and us working with you all and saying, hey, we're going to stop doing just PC only stuff and try this console thing and see how that works out.
- You know, for me, as a player of your games, you've always challenged yourself. If I think about whether it's bringing a traditional PC genre to console, the work you've done around VR, around streaming, around modding on console, like, it's hard for us as a platform to think about the pushes that we've had from a publisher who said, we want to go try something.
And at first of course we're defensive. Uh, I don't know about that. And then we start to think and work together. So many of those innovations, not just for Xbox, but in the game industry were born right here at Bethesda. And it's I think about the path forward and that continued push for us to evolve our platform. And this is going to be fantastic.
- And I think that's part of where some of that excitement comes from, right, which is being a developer and having this kind of passion, and even getting to work more closely hand in hand with the folks who are making those decisions, pushing those technologies, whether it's streaming or console power or whatever it is. It is different when you're inside versus external.
- I mean, one of the things Todd and I were actually talking about this morning was, to be able to sit down with the teams here and go through our 10-year roadmap, which almost by definition is wrong. Because we don't know what's going to happen 10 years from now. But we have an idea. Like, we have some plans. And to have that full disclosure with stuff that's just kind of crazy spaghetti on the wall ideas, and stuff obviously that's sooner that's a little more solid, hopefully.
And to share that with you and get the feedback-- I think Sarah did a good job talking about the fact that we used to always bring our console here first. We'd bring it under a shield of darkness and then bring it and then watch Todd give us kind of the thumbs up, thumbs down on the design of our console.
You know, but that's feedback-- because when you're inside of your own bubble it's easy to believe what you've done. And we talk about these trust bubbles of everybody on the team and what we believe. You heard it in the pieces here of your studios have a trust bubble with themselves. They're willing to share stuff with their siblings studios and get that feedback. And to me this just expanded the people, smart people that we can talk to about the plans that have, that have a shared vision of where gaming's going.
- All right. Anything else? Did we cover it all, Los?
ERIN LOSI: I think so. I'm just incredibly excited for the future. I'm so happy that you took the time to come visit us here in Maryland. I look forward to learning from you, from working with you on this summer event that we've promised now.
- It's just-- the future's exciting.
AARON GREENBERG: Well we officially can start working together today.
- Yes. Yes.
- This is day one.
- First meeting right after this.
- And it's true though, what Phil says. Like, don't be shy. Give us the feedback. We want to learn from you guys as much as we can share back.
- And I'm excited to meet even more players.
AARON GREENBERG: There is a lot of fans on our side that have grown up playing your games and huge fans of your game. So no shortage of love on our end.
PETE HINES: Yeah. It's going to be fantastic. Aaron, any final thoughts?
- No, I just-- listen, I'm the marketing guy. So I'm just going to sort of say, listen, this is the start. So I would say that we haven't got everything figured out yet. We're now officially able to work together. I think what we've achieved between the teams, to have 20 games to be able to go in as a gift for fans to celebrate this moment is really special. That is a lot of work.
PETE HINES: A lot of work.
- And we're trying to get these up. And a lot of these are older games that we're getting up and running on PC Game Pass and things like that. But I think it's a great gift for fans. And so I think we're really excited about that.
As Erin said, we're excited to go jointly work on stuff together. As we think about big beats together, we think about all these studios under one umbrella. We talked about some of the greatest RPGs ever made, the greatest RPG creators now all part of one team. You know, the greatest shooter tech, the greatest shooter franchises all part of one team. And beyond that, the innovation and the creativity and the deep storytelling. And so it's just an incredible, incredible time to be an Xbox gamer and to be in this industry. And so I couldn't be more excited.
PETE HINES: Same. I feel the same. Phil?
PHIL SPENCER: Yeah. I'll start. And I know this is something we're doing for everybody to watch. But I'd be remiss if I didn't start with the teams here and what a commitment we have and I have personally to building an environment and a culture where creators feel like they can absolutely do their best work.
And that is something that's at our core. It's something that Robert and I talked a lot about leading into this, of how do we go create a world class creative organization together? And kind of in his memory, I want to deliver on that. And I have a commitment to the teams here.
And the result of that for the millions of people who love playing games, love what we're doing at Xbox is that you're going to get an amazing set of games to go play, from genres across the board, as you said Aaron, amazing detail, the concentration on the craft.
And this is all about the mission that we have of the power of play to unite people across the planet. Three billion people playing video games, we want to ensure that anybody who wants to will be able to experience the great games that we're going to build together, whether that's the technology that we're pushing on or business models to ensure that more people have access, to the voices of different creators with different perspectives telling their stories on our platform.
I'm just a fundamental believer in the power of video games to help bring this planet closer together. And I think it's a time when we need it. And I love what we're going to be able to do together here.
PETE HINES: Perfectly said. We are so excited for this partnership, and to get going. We've been chomping at the bit for a while, and can't wait. We got some really exciting stuff coming down the pipe.
So thank all of you for joining us today. Thanks to everybody who tuned in to watch. We appreciate your time. We hope you enjoyed a little look at sort of who we are and what we're bringing to the table as Bethesda and Xbox come together in this amazing new partnership. And we can't wait to see what's next.
So thank you all for joining us. Take care. Have a good night.
WOMAN: Signal detected.
- Ira, what's happening? External camera 15! Camera 10!
- They're here.
- Send them in.
- Yes! Yes!
MAN: (SINGING) We got to kick it up a notch like ain't nothing new yet. This is all life. We ain't stopping now. We going all night.
- It's a wonderful place.
MAN: (SINGING) On another level.
- [INAUDIBLE], you have come.
- Wake up, chief.
- Hey, you. You're finally awake.
- I actually like meeting you.
WOMAN: You're part of the family, after all.
MAN: This is even better than I thought.
- Ha. I like this one.
WOMAN: Together. We're a team.
MAN: Everyone ready?
- Oh I'm ready.
MAN: Our future begins.
MAN: (SINGING) We 'bout to turn it up.