Bethesda games were always going to be Xbox exclusive, reveals Phil Spencer document

Bethesda games were always going to be Xbox exclusive, reveals Phil Spencer document

Bethesda games were always going to be Xbox exclusive, reveals Phil Spencer document

Bethesda Game Studios’ Starfield is now an Xbox exclusive, despite being planned as a multiplatform release. Following the acquisition of Zenimax by Xbox in 2021, all future Bethesda games were planned to be exclusive on Xbox hardware.

Revealed during the final day of Microsoft’s FTC hearing, Xbox CEO Phil Spencer made the call in 2021 to make all future Bethesda games exclusive on Xbox. Despite claims that exclusivity status would be “case-by-case” for specific games, complete exclusivity was planned from the start.

In a conversation with Xbox CFO Tim Stuart and Xbox Game Studios Chief Matt Booty, Spencer explained that the plan was to make all future Bethesda games of new and existing IP exclusive to Xbox and PC. Those titles would also be available on Xbox Cloud Gaming on Xbox Game Pass.

"All games going forward?" Stuart recalled asking Booty. "Not just new IP, but ALL games going forward? Wow."

“Phil [Spencer] told them all titles going foward, Xbox exclusive,” Booty responded.

Since the acquisition of Zenimax Media, exclusivity has yet to truly become an issue for PlayStation. Over the past two years, Xbox has still been honouring existing contracts with the releases of Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo being delayed on Xbox systems. However, now that those deals have closed, Bethesda games are going to be Xbox exclusive from this point on, as it was always planned.

This future started with the low-scale, but still amazing, release of Hi-Fi Rush, developed by Tango Gameworks. Afterwards, Arkane Austin’s genuinely awful Redfall released under the Bethesda brand. Next on the docket is Starfield, Bethesda Game Studio’s massive sci-fi RPG, an industry-changing title that has been finished for two years, but needed heavy bug fixes.

In the future, numerous projects are planned to release under the Xbox’s Bethesda brand. An upcoming Indiana Jones game is in development at MachineGames, despite Lucasfilm’s upset at the game’s newfound exclusivity. A third Wolfenstein game is also expected to be in development.

Finally, Bethesda Game Studios is also working on The Elder Scrolls VI. Expected to release in five years time, the upcoming RPG has caused endless speculation since its 2017 announcement. Recent reports claim the game will have a co-op element, but Bethesda has yet to confirm anything.

Bethesda games will be exclusive to Xbox consoles, but PlayStation is still far from without exclusive software. The brand’s long-term partnership recently continued with Final Fantasy XVI, and PlayStation consoles are still set to receive a number of thrilling exclusive launches such as Spider-Man 2, Wolverine, Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth and more. 

Xbox’s next exclusive Starfield launches on Xbox Series consoles and PC on September 6th. If you’re able to buy the game’s scalper-target Constellation Edition, you’ll be able to play five days early on September 1st.

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