On the day before pre-orders begin for the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, Microsoft delivered some massive news: the company has acquired Bethesda, which means a lot of huge franchises such as Doom and Fallout are now owned by the Xbox bosses at Microsoft.
Does this mean that future games in Bethesda-owned franchises, which also include The Elder Scrolls and Dishonored, will be exclusive to Microsoft-owned platforms? Are PlayStation fans about to be shunned out of these beloved worlds? These are fair questions to ask, especially as fans will currently be deciding which next-gen console to buy.
Keep reading for absolutely everything we know right now on the topic of Bethesda franchises potentially becoming Xbox exclusives...
PC players will definitely be included
"We will be adding Bethesda’s iconic franchises to Xbox Game Pass for console and PC," said Xbox boss Phil Spencer in the official announcement of the news.
This proves that, just like the other Xbox Game Studios companies, Bethesda will be bringing their games to Xbox Game Pas on both Xbox consoles and PC. So even if you don't own an Xbox, you should be able to play any Bethesda game you want on PC.
Doubling down on this stance in the press release that followed, this tantalising sentence was shared by the Xbox PR team: "With the addition of Bethesda, Microsoft will grow from 15 to 23 creative studio teams and will be adding Bethesda’s iconic franchises to Xbox Game Pass. This includes Microsoft’s intent to bring Bethesda’s future games into Xbox Game Pass the same day they launch on Xbox or PC."
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Other consoles will get Bethesda games on a "case by case" basis
In both the official announcement and the press release, Xbox is careful not to use the word "exclusive", so it's only natural to wonder whether Sony's PS4 and PS5 consoles will get left out of the Bethesda party going forward or not.
Making the situation even stranger is the fact that Bethesda has already agreed to make its upcoming games Ghostwire: Tokyo and Deathloop release as timed exclusives for PS5. But you'd expect Microsoft to steer clear of such 'PS5 exclusive' deals in future.
However, it seems like Microsoft is open to sharing the Bethesda love when it suits. In an interview with Bloomberg, Xbox boss Phil Spencer said that Bethesda games will come to "other consoles on a case by case basis.” So we'd expect to see some titles being Xbox/PC exclusives, while other games get a wider release on PS4/PS5, Nintendo Switch, and any other consoles that Microsoft decides to partner with.
You could argue that there's not much harm in putting future Bethesda games on PS4/PS5, from Microsoft's perspective: the Xbox team will still get money every time someone buys the game, after all! Bethesda franchises could be seen as a Trojan Horse within Sony - a powerful tool in the console war - if Microsoft does go down that route.
And at the same time, the Xbox Series X versions of those future Bethesda games would look a lot more tempting than their PS5 counterparts - that's due to the fact they'll be included in the monthly Game Pass membership that 15 million people already have. While on the other side of the fence, Sony-favouring gamers may have to pay full whack.
There's nothing stopping Microsoft from making Bethesda games into Xbox/PC exclusives, but at the same time, they could reach a lot more players if they also launch on Sony's platforms. As we hear more on this hot topic, we'll be sure to let you know...
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