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So Bethesda games will be Xbox exclusive, but don’t expect Xbox to say this out loud

Yesterday, a long interview went round between Kotaku and Phil Spencer which included some pretty random stuff (can the S series load games faster than the X series due to the smaller scale storylines?), But it̵

7;s also the closest to Microsoft going so far as to say yes, its upcoming big Bethesda games will be exclusive to Xbox and not PlayStation.

And this is probably the closest to them will come and tell, at least before the X Series launch.

The breakup of the exchange is that Kotaku asked Spencer if they could still recoup a $ 7.5 billion investment with huge games like Elder Scrolls VI which are not sold on PlayStation, which will undoubtedly move more than 100 million units into the next generation.

Spencer replied point blank, “Yes”, before elaborating:

“This deal was not made to take away games from another player base like that. Nowhere in the documentation we put together was there: “How can we stop other players from playing these games?” We want more people to be able to play, not fewer people to be able to play. But in the model I’ll also say – I’m just directly answering the question you had – when I think about where people will play and how many devices we have, and we have xCloud, PC and Game Pass and our console base, I don’t have to ship those games. on any other platform other than the platforms we support to make the agreement work for us. Whatever that means. “

So what does it actually mean? What Spencer is saying without saying it outright is that yes, big games like Elder Scrolls VI and Starfield and whatever Bethesda does next outside of existing deals in place like Deathloop will likely be Xbox exclusive.

But the definition of “Xbox exclusive” at this point doesn’t just mean the box. Microsoft is evolving Xbox, this generation in particular, to represent an entire ecosystem that includes Game Pass and xCloud streaming. So moving forward, “Xbox” will be seen less as a physical box and more as a whole ecosystem of platforms like Netflix. As in, you’ll play your “Xbox exclusives” on real Xboxes, but also on PCs, laptops, tablets, phones, smart TVs, and whatever else can run them. Or is willing to handle them.

By default, this would seem to rule out rival consoles such as the Nintendo Switch and PS5. I can could be you see Nintendo agreeing to run Game Pass / xCloud on Switch, but Spencer seems to indicate there may be some issues with this. But Sony? Yes, I don’t think so. And so by that definition, no, you won’t be able to play those huge Bethesda games on PS5 in the future, and Microsoft seems to think they can afford it.

And I mean, they can. Even though Microsoft declines the Netflix model and spends far, far more on content than it actually contributes, Microsoft is also one of the largest companies in the world and can afford to do such things. They want to be the Netflix of this space, whatever the cost, and they want Elder Scrolls and Starfield to be resources for them as Stranger Things and Cobra Kai are for Netflix, a motivating factor for signing up.

But again, don’t expect Phil Spencer to openly say things like “No, Elder Scrolls and Fallout and Starfield won’t be on PlayStation in the future”. That would play too much into the console war narrative Spencer says he hates, even if this is literally the action most likely to be taken to better position Microsoft in this market. It’s just business. And yes, it will probably continue to be there some Bethesda games making their way to other consoles, but I absolutely expect Microsoft to save the larger versions for the Xbox ecosystem so that they can at least attempt to match Sony and Nintendo for exclusive parity, which has been Xbox’s main problem for three generations now.

We will learn more about all of this after the launch of these new consoles, when the gloves really come off. For now, that’s the most we’ll hear on the subject.

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