2020 is coming to an end and until now the single, most discussed video game industry news is still the Bethesda-Xbox deal. That megaton deal also means that Team Xbox has all the means to lock out PlayStation and Nintendo consoles and keep future Bethesda games exclusive to the Xbox ecosystem which includes Xbox One, Xbox Series S, Xbox Series X and Windows 10 PC.
In other words, what Microsoft owns, Sony and Nintendo cannot have!
Don’t get me wrong. People who own Nintendo Switch, PS4 and the PS5 (note: compatible with most PS4 games) can still avail of the current Bethesda releases of Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (the remastered edition specifically), Elder Scrolls Online, Doom Eternal and others in the market. They just should accept the fact that future games like Fallout 5, Starfield, Elder Scrolls VI, the next Doom, the next Wolfenstein, the next Dishonored and whatever new intellectual properties Bethesda comes up with!
No matter how loud and emotional the fanboys are over the Xbox-Bethesda deal that tremendously changed the game, Nintendo and PlayStation consoles are NOT part of the Xbox ecosystem! Microsoft did not spend $7.5 billion only to make new Bethesda games and franchises available on non-Xbox platforms, and they also invested a whole bunch of money building up Xbox Game Pass (XGP) and Project xCloud.
This bring me to my next point – Kotaku’s in-depth interview with Xbox head Phil Spencer.
The said interview discussed a whole bunch of topics. The Xbox-Bethesda deal, unsurprisingly, was discussed and it dealt with what Microsoft will do with Bethesda game properties that they now own and control. Here’s an excerpt:
Spencer had said in previous interviews that existing deals involving ZeniMax games would still be honored, suggesting that something like the time-traveling game Deathloop would still come first to PS5, as previously announced. Beyond that, though, fans have wondered whether ZeniMax games would go Xbox and PC-only. In other words, they’ve wondered if PlayStation would stop getting Fallouts and miss out on the sequel to Skyrim.
I wondered that, too.
“Is it possible to recoup a $7.5 billion investment if you don’t sell Elder Scrolls VI on the PlayStation?” I asked.
“Yes,” Spencer quickly replied.
Then he paused.
“I don’t want to be flip about that,” he added. “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.”
As seen above, Phil Spencer answered with confidence that they can recover the $7.5 billion Bethesda investment with the Xbox ecosystem, Xbox Game Pass and other services they have. The PlayStation and Nintendo console bases are undeniably large but they are not really needed in Microsoft’s master strategy on not only recovering their Bethesda investment but also expanding the Xbox ecosystem as a whole worldwide.
As I observed, a lot of Xbox fans are very enthusiastic for Bethesda’s games and have collectively spent huge amounts of money on them. These same Xbox fans are willing to spend more for the next-generation Xbox Series consoles and the Bethesda-Xbox deal is a big factor in their decisions and excitement.
Sony had tremendous success selling over 100,000,000 PS4 units worldwide but that does NOT mean Microsoft and Bethesda will plead to them and offer future games of Fallout, Elder Scrolls, Doom, Wolfenstein, and others on PS5. Sony does NOT have the upper hand at all with the next-generation and they do not own Bethesda.
It’s really the other way around for Sony and Nintendo when it comes to convincing Microsoft to allow Bethesda to release their future games on PS5 and Switch. Imagine PlayStation head Jim Ryan approaching Microsoft and offer them $500,000,000 to release Starfield on PS5. I know it’s crazy but with the many Xbox-hating PlayStation fanboys online who are still restlessly ranting over the Xbox-Bethesda deal, they might be willing enough to pressure Jim Ryan to do it. As for Nintendo, what can they offer to Microsoft?
As for the two timed-exclusive Bethesda games coming to PS5 initially, you can expect those games to land in the Xbox ecosystem in the near future. I don’t expect Sony and Bethesda will renew their deal now that Microsoft is in the game.
The way things are right now, Starfield and other future Bethesda games will be exclusive to the Xbox ecosystem. Those who own non-Xbox platforms who really crave for sequels to Fallout, Elder Scrolls and the like can simply use their capable Windows 10 PCs or buy an Xbox Series S or an Xbox Series X console, and then subscribe to Xbox Game Pass. If they want to play Xbox ecosystem games on their smartphones via streaming, there is Project xCloud to support them.
In ending this article, here are some more gaming-related videos for your enjoyment.
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