Suppose you bought PlayStation 5 in hopes of playing Bethesda’s upcoming titles. Well, tough luck because apparently, the company’s future releases mainly concern Xbox. In addition, Bethesda apologizes for its upcoming highly-anticipated sci-fi game being an Xbox exclusive.
According to IGN, Microsoft and Bethesda have confirmed that the upcoming RPG Starfield will be an Xbox exclusive. The news surfaced after months of speculation, and though frustrating for PlayStation owners, offers only an apology from Bethesda’s longtime senior vice president of global marketing. Hines stated that he, as a PlayStation gamer, understands the disappointment and frustration of PlayStation 5 fans and that there’s nothing that he can do about it. That’s how things are, especially now that Microsoft runs Bethesda.
Meanwhile, another Bethesda representative, Todd Howard, stated that, despite losing some of its audience, Starfield’s newly revealed Xbox exclusivity would make it a better product by allowing Bethesda to optimize the game for a narrower range of gaming platforms. Bethesda has a long history of multi-platform releases, including PlayStation, though it was noted that the company’s games run best on the PC. So, what’s the sudden change, and why is Starfield a PC and Xbox exclusive? Or should we say Microsoft exclusive?
Well, Microsoft acquired ZeniMax, Bethesda’s parent company, in March 2021, merging it with its Xbox Game Studios group. As a result of that acquisition, all future games from ZeniMax and its subsidiaries will be exclusive to platforms supported by the Xbox Game Pass. This can lead to confusion because, despite the acquisition, several other previously announced titles are set to appear on PlayStation 4 and 5 consoles in September and October this year. As it turns out, Microsoft was nice enough to allow ZeniMax Media’s subsidiaries to complete all contractual obligations towards releases on other platforms. Unfortunately, this does not include the upcoming Starfield release.
With that said, the bulk of Microsoft and Bethesda’s E3 conference leaned heavily towards Game Pass supported platforms, focusing more on Xbox exclusives that will be available to Xbox Game Pass on Day One. This plays very well with Microsoft’s plans to expand the Xbox ecosystem. As we previously reported, Xbox is planning on expanding the Xbox Experience by bringing its gaming-on-demand services to PC, internet-enabled TVs, cellphones, older console models, and even gaming-on-demand dedicated hardware.
Xbox Game Pass has been regarded as a better subscription service for a long time now, compared to PlayStation’s PlayStation Plus. By introducing exclusivity for its service and expanding the Xbox ecosystem to other devices, Xbox might just surpass PlayStation in all regards. Sure, PlayStation 5 outsold the Xbox Series X/S two-to-one, but Xbox is offering a gaming experience that doesn’t require ownership of the proprietary hardware (a console). And the business move isn’t so bizarre either, given how manufacturers produce consoles at a loss. With that said, it’s improbable anyone will play Starfield or any other Xbox exclusive on their smart TV without up paying for Xbox Series X/S first. At least not in the foreseeable future.