Xbox Doesn't Have to Ship Bethesda Games on Platforms They Don't Support in Order to Recoup Acquisition, Says Spencer

Xbox Doesn't Have to Ship Bethesda Games on Platforms They Don't Support in Order to Recoup Acquisition, Says Spencer - News

by William D'Angelo , posted 4 days ago / 2,712 Views

Microsoft last month acquired Bethesda Softworks parent company ZeniMax Media for $7.5 billion. Xbox Game Studios will grow from 15 to 23 studios and Microsoft now owns the rights to several high-profile video game IPs, like The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Doom, Wolfenstein, Quake, Dishonored, and more.

The Bethesda acquisition has led to PlayStation owners wondering if they would see future Fallout games, The Elder Scrolls VI, or any other game from the studios acquired would get a release on the PlayStation 5 or if they would be released on Xbox consoles and PC only. 

Head of Xbox Phil Spencer in an interview with Kotaku was asked if it would be possible to recoup the $7.5 billion investment to acquire Bethesda by not releasing The Elder Scrolls VI on the PlayStation and he responded by saying "yes."

The Elder Scrolls VI

"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 [Bethesda] 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."

When Microsoft acquired Minecraft developer Mojang they decided to keep the popular game multiplatform. We do know future Bethesda games will get released on  Xbox consoles, PC, and "other consoles on a case by case basis."


A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel dedicated to gaming Let's Plays and tutorials. You can contact the author at wdangelo@vgchartz.com or on Twitter @TrunksWD.


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75 Comments

shikamaru317 (4 days ago)

I'm convinced that Bethesda games will at least be timed exclusive to Xbox/xCloud/PC now.


gtotheunit91 (4 days ago)

That's exactly what I was thinking. At least the major franchises. Smaller franchises like Evil Within, Rage, etc I can see being Xbox, PC, xCloud exclusives, but Microsoft I'd think wouldn't want to permanently lose out on tens of million of copies of Elder Scrolls, Fallout, etc.


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shikamaru317 (4 days ago)

Timed does make the most sense probably. Many PS fans would be willing to buy an Xbox or play on PC/xCloud to avoid waiting a year, but some of the die hard PS fans would be more than willing to wait a year to play, so release as timed exclusives to move some hardware and boost the Gamepass ecosystem with xCloud players, then release on PS5 later to make some extra money from those die hard PS fans that won't budge.


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yvanjean (4 days ago)

Ironic that the same people that brag about their consoles exclusive are the one saying that you can't lock content under one eco systems.


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LudicrousSpeed (4 days ago)

@vendrom SFV says hi.


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Bandorr (4 days ago)

" you'd really "love" to see [] buy a huge company that is in no financial stress whatsoever? A company who makes tons of great single player games? Seems to be conflicting messages. Or is it ok so long as they're exclusive to []"
@LudicrousSpeed says hi @ludicrousSpeed
SFV would fall under the "financial stress" part that you seem to be ok. Being that the game wouldn't have existed for quite a long time if Sony didn't fund it. Similar to Bayonetta 2 or 3. That's why you wrote "financial stress" as an exception. You know that saying stop hitting yourself? You're doing that - with words.


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LudicrousSpeed (3 days ago)

SFV would have existed with or without Sony's money. Hope that helps.


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LivingMetal (4 days ago)

"We want more people to be able to play games, not fewer people to be able to go play games." ...on a non-Sony platform.


Imaginedvl (4 days ago)

Yap :) Nailed it ahah


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VAMatt (4 days ago)

Except that's not what he said.


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Libara (4 days ago)

Even more proof that Bethesda games after current deals will not be coming to anything other than PC, Xbox and Xcloud.


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Imaginedvl (4 days ago)

Maybe not proof. But yes, Bethesda games are basically going to be exclusives to Microsoft ecosystem (Xbox, PC and GamePass). Only time will tell obviously, but it is pretty much the expectation at this point.


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Azzanation (4 days ago)

Who actually thinks they needed to?


The Fury (4 days ago)

Well, duh, they have a monopoly on Operating Systems for that.


Sogreblute (4 days ago)

I knew from the start that most games (maybe all) will be Xbox and PC only. People saying otherwise are just trying to convince themselves that they will still come to PlayStation.


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Jannlee48504 (4 days ago)

If they do bring games to Playstation they should charge 70 bucks since sony charges that and keep it 60 bucks for the series x


tripenfall (3 days ago)

If Sony had bought Bethesda would this even be a question? Phil Spencer is smart to not say too much but these games will NOT be coming to PS5 and frankly the fact that Sony fanboys think that the gaming market as a whole needs the PS5 to be profitable is a joke. Slowly but surely the penny is dropping for them, these games are not on a Sony platform mark my words....


Qwark (3 days ago)

You don't invest 7.5 billion dollar in a company to get slightly more revenue of that company. Microsoft should and will use Bethesda to strengthen their platform.


chakkra (4 days ago)

The funniest thing about all this is that all of a sudden you find yourself on the other end of the "exclusives matter" discussion.


chakkra (4 days ago)

Well, I mean "exclusives sell consoles" right?


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chakkra (4 days ago)

@Bandorr I'm confused. People in here told me that Bethesda games would not be exclusives because MS needed Sony's fanbase to recoup that investment, but now you're telling me that they were able to play them on their PCs all along? wow, you guys have me dizzy.


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chakkra (4 days ago)

@Bandorr "Take a breath or things will just get worse for you." Okay.. now you have me interested; please keep going, I'd like to see how bad it gets.


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Azzanation (4 days ago)

@Bandorr Their is a market for console gamers regardless if the games are on PC. Even if the next Xbox sells only 30m consoles, that's still 30m users. The point is that you either join the 30m Xbox user base or the PC user base which MS controls anyway. Its your choice. MS only care about making money, weather you invest into their dedicated console or their windows eco, they don't care. That's why they are giving gamers more options, the more options, the more chance you are spending money into their eco system.


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LivncA_Dis3 (3 days ago)

Microsoft can afford to lose cash, they're swimming in tons of it... SONY however cannot do that. So timed exclusive or permanent exclusive on Xbox just play Bethesda games on PC simple solution.


AFattyGamer (3 days ago)

Microsoft has the final say but they should tread carefully ... Don't sleep on Sony's 3rd party game sales.


Squall_Leonhart (3 days ago)

The only Bethesda series that I have enjoyed has been Elder Scrolls but I will not be buying an XBSX just for one game. I expect a lot of previous PS purchasers to be the same and they will lose millions in revenue as a result!


DonFerrari (4 days ago)

Way to not answer a question. And to dodge saying the truth, that yes the effect of what they done is to take away those games from competition.


VAMatt (4 days ago)

That's one way to say it. The other is to say that he made it clear that if you want to be certain to be able to play Bethesda games, you should buy and XB or PC. But, if you stick with PS, we're not necessarily gonna leave you hanging.


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DonFerrari (4 days ago)

Yet he had zero clarity on it. For the life of his he can only be direct or clear when he is taking a pot shot on the competition, when it is about Xbox he changes the tune all the time and try to be as vague as possible.


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hunter_alien (3 days ago)

Of course, he can't have any clarity about it. he would lose his good-guy image if he came out and told clearly what we all know, that that 7.5 billion secured exclusivity forever.


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Vendrom (4 days ago)

Indeed, they don't need to. Day one Bethesda releases on Game Pass alone could garner enough revenue to sustain their business (considering that their subscription recently hit 15 million users and it's still growing)


mutantsushi (4 days ago)

Ignore/externalize enough costs and anything looks like a great business.
Game Pass is currently losing money with those 15 million users.
Doesn't mean it can't meet MS goals, loss leaders to establish market share is classic monopolist behavior.
Entire US IT sector is based on throwing mega-billions to do just that and wipe out or prevent competition.


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Azzanation (4 days ago)

GamePass is not losing money. MS wont tell you how profitable it will be because companies don't share subscription profits. Just do the maths yourself. 15m users paying $10 a month and times that by a year. GamePass could pay off the Bethesda buy out in a couple years depending on how much it grows from now and than.


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method114 (3 days ago)

@azzanation MS already said it wasn't profitable. Your not calculating the amount of money they are spending to get these games and the servers to run them.


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Azzanation (3 days ago)

@method114 trust me on this, if they are not profiting on GP than they wont be doing it. This is the instant where you do not listen to what the corps have to say.


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yvanjean (4 days ago)

People still trying to spin this announcement. This deal is about bringing the games to the most amount of people Xbox/Xcloud/PC. Unlike Sony deals that would of lock the games into one ecosystem and force a console sale. I think any future Zenimax Online games will come day and date on Sony consoles.


mutantsushi (4 days ago)

Glad you could understand all that from Phil's "Whatever that means."


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VAMatt (4 days ago)

This Bethesda purchase may also work to help MS pressure Sony into giving them a favorable deal for putting Gamepass on PS5. I recall Phil mentioned a few months ago that they want to be on competing platforms, but those guys (presumably Sony and Nintendo) weren't interested. That's code for saying Sony and Ninty want a bigger split of the money than MS can accept. Since they now have a bunch of mega-titles that may actually move people to XB hardware, they can go to Sony and say "let us put Gamepass on PS for (better terms than they otherwise would be able to get) so that your users are less likely to leave you for XB".


Soonerman (4 days ago)

This would be a win-win for MS and Sony. MS expands GP and stops creating new consoles and Sony keeps making hardware, selling games and gets rid of PS Now.


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Mr Puggsly (4 days ago)

MS is talking big but I say lets wait and see.


Jannlee48504 (4 days ago)

If they do bring games to Playstation they should charge 70 bucks since sony charges that and keep it 60 bucks for the series x


hunter_alien (4 days ago)

Absolute bullshit! Spencer still trying to play the "consumer friendly" card after aquiring one of the biggest western publishers. It won't work anymore. MS showed again what most of us already knew, that they are one of the most anti-consumer and anti-competition companies out there both in gaming and otherwise.


Azzanation (4 days ago)

Mean while other gamers enjoy playing Spiderman and Spiderman DLC on a 3rd party game. Yup, MS are the worst type of animals.


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hunter_alien (3 days ago)

Go on to compare the two levels of content locking. They are just the same. I mean forget about the fact that historically 3rd party mega franchises like Doom, TES, and Fallout are locked behind an exosystem.


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Azzanation (3 days ago)

One way is a natural cause of exclusivity where as the other is a deliberate attempt at locking out gamers and fans. So yes, one is alot worse than the other but let's call out the company that is now funding those future games to the other who pays just to lock content away.


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hunter_alien (3 days ago)

"Natural cause of exclusivity"? Like owning certain IP? By your very own definition this should be fair play. Cool, I guess not having a a certain superhero in a shitty Avangers game pretty much means that there is no reason to be alarmed by the fact that MS bought ~14 studios in a couple of years. What a pro-gamer move! Sure glad that we have Spencer to tell us that everything is fine :-)


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Azzanation (2 days ago)

Im sure you wouldn't be complaining if Sony brought Bethesda instead.


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Angelv577 (4 days ago)

I am thinking at first it is going to be exclusives but they gonna wait for the performance of the games before deciding what to do next with the games in regard to other platforms.


Comments below voting threshold

Blood_Tears (4 days ago)

The whole situation really doesn't have to be so vague. The only thing I could possibly think of why there would be a chance for a PS5 release is Sony's market share of consoles sold when the game(s) are ready for release. I mean if you have no intention on releasing them on PS5 why say case by case basis. Wouldn't you want to shout it from the roof tops that Elder Scrolls 6 and/or Starfield is exclusive to the Xbox and not releasing at all on PS5? It really comes down to lack of balls. Lack of balls from the interviewer by not asking if Elder Scrolls 6 and Starfield are coming to PS5 and a lack of balls from Phil for giving vague answers again that 180 each other in the response. Phil is always saying he wants to be transparent so why not come out and say a Yes or No response or a Tweet and say hey, these games will only appear on these platforms. Problem Solved.


DonFerrari (4 days ago)

Phil wanting to be transparent means he won't give any answer at all.


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JRPGfan (4 days ago)

Basically a "we dont care if it takes twice as long or longer to recoupe investment" statement. I guess this means you might see some games being exclusives in future.


LudicrousSpeed (4 days ago)

I'd love to see your math and stuff on how long it would take one way versus the other. Show us the receipts.


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KratosLives (4 days ago)

will be timed exclusives obviously. There is alot to made from a userbase of around 50 to 130 million users on ps5. You have to be a die hard fanboy to go over to xbox cause of either fallout or elder scrolls. Most people i know who have playstation is cause of the name, been with playstation for years and know the console makes quality exclusives. i wonder how many fans of bethesda titles like me are weary and not to optimistic about their next line up of games. Fallout 4 was ok, and i wouldn't bother with another cause of the fiasco that was fallout 76, and the game and engine needs a complete overhaul. Todd howard thinks he is all that and has fallen from grace it seems. He is not on the same level as ken levine. doom isn't that appealing to me and dishonored took a step back in the sequel. i do wonder if fallout 5, elder scrolls 6 and starfield will all release next gen though.


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Azzanation (4 days ago)

PS5 wont gave 150m user base in its first few years.


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Cerebralbore101 (4 days ago)

"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." - This quote is pretty good evidence that Bethesda games will eventually come to PS5. Timed exclusives are not out of the question though.


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chakkra (4 days ago)

You seem to have missed this part: "... we have xCloud and PC and Game Pass and our console base, I don't have to go ship [Bethesda] 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."


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Cerebralbore101 (4 days ago)

"Kind of make the deal work for us. Whatever that means." - That's really vague.


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LivingMetal (4 days ago)

Nope.


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Random_Matt (4 days ago)

You are right, just be filled with micro transactions.


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yvanjean (4 days ago)

I'd rather have Microtransaction on a game I got for free from GamePass than Microtransactions on a game that I paid $79.99USD retail.


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yvanjean (4 days ago)

I'd rather have Microtransaction on a game I got for free from GamePass than Microtransactions on a game that I paid $79.99USD retail.


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Cerebralbore101 (4 days ago)

Fallout 76 is completely infested with MTX. One of the worst games this gen. Let's see if MS can keep the next Fallout from being a mess. Just hand the entire Fallout franchise over to Obsidian!


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yvanjean (4 days ago)

As someone who just put over 100 hours in Fallout 76: The game is amazing started playing in September so I did not experience the broken launch game. The game does give you free Atoms point that can be spent in the store from in-game achievements. Purely cosmetics transaction like Fallout 76 And Sea of Thieves is Microtransactions done right which is much better than the random loot boxes.


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Random_Matt (4 days ago)

One big as shill, incredible.


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LudicrousSpeed (4 days ago)

I'm yet to see a Microsoft game as laced with MTX and pay to win DLC as Last of Us Remastered or whatever lol. Sony also has The Show and stubs.

Glass houses, stones, all that stuff.


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Cerebralbore101 (3 days ago)

Dear Lord, this place is going to hell in a handbasket. Somebody is actively shilling for FO76? Really?


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