Xbox will be the first (or best) place to play all future Bethesda games, says Xbox chief financial officer Tim Stuart during a conference last week.
Xbox will see future Bethesda game be “either first or better or best” on the platform, said the company’s chief financial officer Tim Stuart during a conference held last week. The acquisition of Bethesda by Microsoft has been a huge talking point across all gaming platforms as fans debate what to expect from the monumental shift in the industry’s landscape, with many concerned that series like The Elder Scrolls and DOOM will become platform-locked in a way that Bethesda games typically haven’t been over the years.
Since the purchase, consumers have been getting small quotes about future policies that have helped shape their understanding of what Xbox and Bethesda’s partnership means now. Phil Spencer stated last month that the deal means Microsoft doesn’t have to release Bethesda games on PS5, though he was adamant that the goal was not to take games away from players, which indicated exclusivity would more likely be timed. Since then, rumors of Microsoft purchasing Japanese studios have shifted some of the spotlight away from the Bethesda acquisition, and it’s been a little while since a new comment has been made on the nature of that arrangement.
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At the Jefferies Interactive Entertainment conference last week transcribed by Video Games Chronicle, Xbox chief financial officer Tim Stuart revealed a little more about the company’s plans for Bethesda games in the future. According to him, the current plan is to make sure that Xbox Bethesda games are “either first or better or best” for the console, which means they’re either going to be timed exclusives or offer the best value for content and performance on Xbox. He also stated that the description he gave isn’t “a point about being exclusive,” but rather that the approach will simply prioritize Xbox as the first or best Bethesda game experience with each release from that company.
Stuart’s comments echo a lot of the analysis surrounding the Microsoft acquisition of Bethesda, which is that it should be used to leverage the Xbox Series X as a must-own console but not to simply keep Bethesda games away from other platforms. Bethesda is a lucrative company in part because its games are so broadly appealing, and it likely wouldn’t make sense for Microsoft to lose out on all the revenue that PS5 or Nintendo Switch versions of Bethesda games could generate. Instead, using Bethesda games arriving first – or with content exclusives unique to Xbox Series X – is another way to incentivize consumers to choose Microsoft’s console as their platform of choice moving forward.
That’s reassuring for current or soon-to-be PS5 owners and the many who enjoy games like Skyrim on Switch, but it’s worth noting that Microsoft’s exact ideas for Bethesda have shifted around a fair bit since the deal was first announced. None of the quotes seem to exist in outright conflict with each other, but it’s clear that the company’s future plans for Bethesda aren’t set in stone, and consumers are likely to get a few more soundbites or written quotes that further muddy the waters before it becomes clear once Bethesda releases its first major title post-acquisition.
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