I’ve got a feeling that when the Xbox Series X kicks off a new generation of gaming next month, that it’ll be an investment in a system that will become the default home to western RPGs. Not content to just have Outer Worlds developer Obsidian locked in as an exclusive game-development studio, Microsoft recently dropped a staggering $7.5 billion on Zenimax, parent company of Bethesda game studios.
There was a fear that all of Bethesda’s current projects would no longer be multi-platform releases, but Microsoft confirmed that the likes of Deathloop and Ghostwire: tokyo would still honor their deals to appear on PlayStation consoles. Future games though? It looks like Microsoft is ready to start flexing those exclusivity muscles.
Speaking with Kotaku, Xboss Phil Spencer was asked if Microsoft could to recoup its investment in Zenimax and Bethesda, without releasing the studio’s games on other consoles. “Yes,” Spencer said, adding a more detailed explanation afterwards.
I don’t want to be flip about that. This deal was not done to take games away from another player base like that. Nowhere in the documentation that we put together was: ‘How do we keep other players from playing these games?’ We want more people to be able to play games, not fewer people to be able to go play games.
But I’ll also say in the model—I’m just answering directly the question that you had—when I think about where people are going to be playing and the number of devices that we had, and we have xCloud and PC and Game Pass and our console base, I don’t have to go ship those games on any other platform other than the platforms that we support in order to kind of make the deal work for us. Whatever that means.
While it’s not a definite confirmation from Spencer due to him talking in pure PR, it does sound like Microsoft is well aware of the value of the brands it now has control of. Between users who’ll be happy to buy the game outright or keep their Game Pass subscription topped up, Bethesda’s catalogue is one heck of a draw for the publisher at it looks to re-establish in the 2020s after it spent most of the 2010s on the backfoot.
Sorry PlayStation 5 owners, looks like you’ll have to bite the bullet and secretly join team green if you want your fix of Elder Scrolls 6: Lydia’s Revenge.
Last Updated: October 19, 2020