The CFO of Xbox has cleared up the confusion surrounding Bethesda Games exclusivity and whether future games will be limited to Microsoft systems.

16:35, 17 Nov 2020

Microsoft's recent acquisition of Bethesda was one of the biggest stories of this year's gaming scene, but with the home of Xbox now owning the likes of FalloutWolfensteinDOOM, and more, it's cast doubt over what future these AAA franchises have on rival consoles - if any at all. Bethesda's future slate also holds the mysterious Starfield, which is still a long way off but has developed plenty of hype as potentially one of the biggest games ever.

Despite Xbox having first-party favourites like Fable and Halo, the general consensus is that Sony has the best first-party exclusives. You only have to look at the PlayStation 5 boasting games including Spider-Man: Miles MoralesDemon's Souls, and whispers that the upcoming God of War sequel will also be a jewel kept for Sony's crown. Bethesda's impressive back catalogue alone could be enough to sway some players to buy an Xbox, but according to those at the top, Microsoft is willing to share with the competition. 

 

Discussing the future of Microsoft as the Xbox Series X leaps off shelves as a next-gen system, Xbox CFO Tim Stuart turned his attention to Bethesda. Speaking during the Jefferies Interactive Entertainment Virtual Conference (via Seeking Alpha), Stuart explained, "What we’ll do in the long run is we don’t have intentions of just pulling all of Bethesda content out of Sony or Nintendo or otherwise".

The $7.5 billion acquisition of parent company ZeniMax Media is expected to be finalised in 2021 and will be huge for both sides. Revealing what Microsoft is planning, Stuart continued, "What we want is we want that content, in the long run, to be either first or better or best or pick your differentiated experience, on our platforms. We will want Bethesda content to show up the best as — on our platforms".

It's a shrewd move to keep hardcore gamers coming back to Microsoft. Although not everyone is fussed about how a game plays, there will still be those drawn to Xbox or PC under the promise Bethesda's big hitters will be optimised for those platforms. 

Stuart added how the Microsoft Game Pass will also play into the future partnership with Bethesda: “Yes. That’s not a point about being exclusive. That’s not a point about we’re being — adjusting timing or content or road map. But if you think about something like Game Pass, if it shows up best in Game Pass, that’s what we want to see, and we want to drive our Game Pass subscriber base through that Bethesda pipeline". 

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Microsoft acquiring ZeniMax Media means Xbox Game Studios will blossom from 15 to 23 development teams. Bethesda Softworks currently employs 2,300 staff, with studios including Bethesda Game Studios (Fallout and Elder Scrolls), id Software (Doom), ZeniMax Online Studios (Elder Scrolls Online), Arkane (Dishonored and Prey), MachineGames (Wolfenstein), Tango Gameworks (The Evil Within), Alpha Dog, and Roundhouse Studios.

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Xbox boss Phil Spencer has said Microsoft will still honour PS5 exclusivity when it comes to Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo, but after that, it sounds like the gaming gauntlets are off. 

 

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