Microsoft and Bethesda’s $7.5 billion exclusivity deal is now officially set in stone. Bethesda and all its studios are part of Xbox Game Studios. That might sound like old news, but the deal had to go through various regulatory approvals before checks and contracts could be signed. But now that it’s all in writing, Microsoft and Bethesda have confirmed a few things about the deal. Specifically regarding the exclusivity of Bethesda games moving forward.
In a post on the Xbox Wire, Head of Xbox Phil Spencer makes it sound like the deal won’t make every game coming out of Bethesda’s studios exclusive to Xbox and Windows, but at least some percentage of them will be.
“This is the next step in building an industry-leading first party studios team, a commitment we have to our Xbox community. With the addition of the Bethesda creative teams, gamers should know that Xbox consoles, PC, and Game Pass will be the best place to experience new Bethesda games, including some new titles in the future that will be exclusive to Xbox and PC players.”
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As for what games won’t be coming to PlayStation or Switch, it’s hard to say at the moment. Something like Elder Scrolls VI would make sense as a possible exclusive, because that could sell more Xbox consoles, as fans of that series could go out of their way to buy a system just for that game. But it raises a question of would Microsoft rather sell more consoles or more copies of the game itself. Because even with a series as big as Elder Scrolls, you can’t guarantee that you’ll see the return on console sales that way. Minecraft is the best-selling game of all time, and is technically a Microsoft game after its acquisition of developer Mojang in 2014. But it’s also available on just about every system under the sun. So Microsoft could make more money back by putting Bethesda games everywhere and taking a cut for each copy sold. A $70 game on a system someone already owns isn’t as big an investment than $70 plus a few hundred bucks for the box you don’t have.
We’ll have to wait and see what games cross platforms, but at least we know now that everything Bethesda and friends put out isn’t going to be solely on Xbox and Windows.
All that’s more far off, but Microsoft also confirmed on the Xbox Wire post that some Bethesda games will be coming to Game Pass later this week. But there’s nothing in way of specifics.