With Microsoft's Bethesda deal nearly done, those at the top have confirmed some new games will be Xbox exclusives.
The writing was already on the wall, but now, Microsoft has confirmed what we all expected, with the news that "some" Bethesda games will be Xbox exclusives. The massive $7.5 billion acquisition of Bethesda parent company ZeniMax Media is set to rock the gaming world. For longer than we'd care to admit, Xbox critics have slammed Microsoft's console for a lack of first-party games. Yes, there's Halo and Fable, but aside from that, is there much to really compete with Sony's PlayStation exclusives like Marvel's Spider-Man, The Last of Us, and God of War?
In terms of gaming legacies, Bethesda's is almost unrivalled. Holding the rights to everything from The Elder Scrolls to Fallout, the Microsoft deal is on a par with Disney buying 20th Century Fox. As Microsoft welcomes Bethesda to the family, its number of first-party studios has now been bolstered to 23. In the midst of the announcement, Microsoft hid the news about the Xbox exclusives.
Why will some Bethesda games be Xbox exclusives?
Discussing the milestone moment, Xbox boss Phil Spencer explained, "This is the next step in building an industry-leading first party studios team, a commitment we have to our Xbox community". While hyping that Bethesda games will be played "best" on Xbox, Spencer continued, "With the addition of the Bethesda creative teams, gamers should know that Xbox consoles, PC, and Game Pass will be the best place to experience new Bethesda games, including some new titles in the future that will be exclusive to Xbox and PC players".
Taking a step back, it now means Microsoft's 23 studios has eclipsed Sony's 13. The ZeniMax acquisition also includes DOOM's id Software, Wolfenstein's Machine Games, and Arkane's Dishonored. Yes, Sony has some big hitters under its belt with studios including Naughty Dog, however, Besthesda's Xbox exclusives will be snapping at Sony's heels. The million-dollar question is, which Bethesda games exactly will be Xbox exclusives, and is the upcoming release of Starfield destined for Microsoft's next-gen console?
What's next for Bethesda Xbox exclusives?
With Bethesda at the top of its game, being bought by Microsoft should help put all that Fallout 76 drama behind it. While there's no news on the inevitable Fallout 5, we just can't see a franchise with as much history being locked into Xbox. Then again, a newcomer like Starfield could be a likely candidate. Despite Starfield being announced at E3 in 2018, we know literally nothing about the game, other than the fact it'll be Bethesda's biggest undertaking yet. Similar to Sony Santa Monica's work on God of War, Starfield could be a major pull for the Xbox.
In a different blog post, Bethesda Marketing Chief Pete Hines said the transition will be a gradual one. "First, let me say that we’re not making any landmark announcements or changes right now", said Hines. "As we’ve all shared, the expectation is that Bethesda Softworks and our studios will continue as we have in the past, just with more support and resources than we’ve ever had before. Obviously, Game Pass has been an important initiative for Xbox, and we’ll be working on putting even more of our games into Game Pass than ever before. Beyond that? Stay tuned, we’re just getting started together".
For the foreseeable, Bethesda will continue to operate as its own etity under the larger Microsoft umbrella. While we wait for more news on which Bethesda games will and won't be Xbox exclusives, it's over to you to weigh up whether now might be a good time to buy an Xbox Series X.
Images via Microsoft | Bethesda