Bethesda Deal Was Not Done to Take Away Games from People, But We Don’t Need to Publish Them Elsewhere, Says Spencer

Oct 17, 2020 15:40 EDT
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The Bethesda acquisition by Microsoft in a deal worth $7.5 billion in cash rocked the gaming industry last month. Following the initial shock, there was the realization that Bethesda's prized IPs, such as DOOM, The Elder Scrolls, Wolfenstein, Fallout, Dishonored to name a few, may not receive new installments on platforms other than Microsoft's Xbox and Windows PC. This would leave out Sony's PlayStation and Nintendo, of which Bethesda has been one of the biggest third-party supporters lately.

While conventional wisdom dictates that a high-profile first-party acquisition will lead to exclusive games, though, others pointed out that such a huge expense would have to be recouped by continuing to sell Bethesda's biggest releases even on PlayStation, for instance.

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Phil Spencer, Head of Gaming at Microsoft, answered this very question in a new interview published yesterday by Kotaku. When asked if the company could still recoup the investment if they don't sell The Elder Scrolls VI on PlayStation 5, for instance, he said:

Yes. 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 this is not quite a clear confirmation that we won't see the next Elder Scrolls entry on PlayStation 5, it gets pretty close and suggests Bethesda games going forward (with the notable exception of Ghostwire: Tokyo and Deathloop, which actually have a prior timed console exclusive deal to appear first on PlayStation 5) will be only on Xbox and Windows PC.

What about Nintendo? Microsoft did release a few games on the Switch, after all, including Ori and the Will of the Wisps a short while ago. However, in the same interview, Spencer said it doesn't feel viable for Microsoft to keep supporting the platform without a proper Xbox Live and Xbox Game Pass infrastructure.

We have a very good relationship with Nintendo. And I think we see our work very synergistically, in terms of trying to grow the market. And it just makes it easy. Every conversation we have with them has really been easy. In order to really support it, I would want a full Xbox ecosystem somewhere. And that probably means things like Live and Game Pass and stuff.

Are you okay with having to get Bethesda games on Xbox or PC in the future? Tell us in the comments!

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