Upcoming sci-fi RPG Starfield will not be coming to PlayStation 5 thanks to Microsoft's acquisition of Bethesda, GamesBeat has reported.
Bethesda's mysterious first-person role-playing title is apparently going to be a console exclusive for Xbox Series X/S, according to GamesBeat's Jeff Grubb, citing sources familiar with the situation.
After tweeting that "Starfield is exclusive to Xbox and PC," Grubb expanded on his comments in the article, noting that "Starfield is most valuable to Microsoft as a means to grow Xbox Game Pass."
"An effort like a blockbuster game release from the team that made The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim is best if Microsoft treats it as an investment into a larger service," posits Grubb.
He then cited Niko Partners analyst Daniel Ahmad, who said: "With Game Pass now the center of the Xbox ecosystem, it is becoming more important for Microsoft to invest in exclusive content and IP that increases the value of the service and leads to new user acquisitions.”
Grubb's argument is that Microsoft wants to coax as many people as possible onto its platform(s), and in doing so set up long-tailed revenue streams that'll continue spinning money for Microsoft over the course of months, if not years.
It's not hard to imagine Microsoft keeping Starfield as an Xbox console exclusive, given its Bethesda connection now. Previously, head of Sony Interactive Entertainment Jim Ryan noted that he "looks forward to finding out if Bethesda titles like Starfield and The Elder Scrolls 6 will be released on PS5", suggesting there was no prior arrangement with Bethesda when it comes to Sony platforms.
We've also heard Microsoft CFO Tim Stuart say that Bethesda games need to be “first or best” on Xbox machines, too. Though Bethesda's Todd Howard himself said it was “hard to imagine” titles like The Elder Scrolls 6 and Starfield being console exclusives.
It's a complicated issue and one that neither Xbox nor Bethesda have made any formal announcements about at the time of writing.
Starfield is apparently targeting a 2021 release, and Bethesda is considering a summer reveal for the game.