Bethesda games need to be “first or best” on Xbox, says Microsoft

By Dom Peppiatt, Monday, 16 November 2020 17:22 GMT

Microsoft would like Bethesda’s upcoming games to be “either first or better or best” on Xbox platforms, according to Xbox chief financial officer Tim Stuart.

After Microsoft announced its acquisition of ZeniMax Media – the parent company of Bethesda Softworks and its associated studios – back in September, the gaming industry at large has been curious about what that means for Bethesda titles on non-Microsoft platforms, going forward.

“What we’ll do in the long run is we don’t have intentions of just pulling all of Bethesda content out of Sony or Nintendo or otherwise,” Stuart said at the Jefferies Interactive Entertainment conference last week (via VGC, transcribed by Seeking Alpha).

“But what we want is we want that content, in the long run, to be either first or better or best or pick your differentiated experience, on our platforms. We will want Bethesda content to show up the best — on our platforms.”

But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you will only be able to play games from the likes of Bethesda Softworks, Arkane Studios, id Software, and so on via Xbox consoles or PC, as Stuart goes on to clarify.

“That’s not a point about being exclusive. That’s not a point about we’re being — adjusting timing or content or road map. But if you think about something like Game Pass, if it shows up best in Game Pass, that’s what we want to see, and we want to drive our Game Pass subscriber base through that Bethesda pipeline.

“So again, I’m not announcing pulling content from platforms one way or the other,” concludes Stuart. “But I suspect you’ll continue to see us shift towards a first or better or best approach on our platforms.”

Microsoft, then, may insist that the best versions of upcoming Bethesda titles (think The Elder Scrolls VI and Starfield) appear on Xbox and PC – but that doesn’t mean they won’t come to PlayStation at all.

And that makes sense, too, when you consider exclusivity deals for the titles Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo will be honored by Microsoft.

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