There is a pending discussion that must be subjected to a more or less in-depth analysis. I mean whether or not Bethesda games should be exclusive within the current business model of video games. Whether Microsoft plans to make them cross-platform or if it will decide to make them exclusive. It’s clear that in both cases, but especially in the second, there is only speculation. That’s why we bring you 3 reasons why Bethesda games will be exclusive to Xbox.
If you think about the way the video game market has been traced throughout this generation; in addition to the appearance of the new gaming model, streaming, then perhaps it’s clearer to understand that Microsoft is looking for something else with Bethesda, and that is the exclusive.
One of the reasons for assuming that Microsoft would leave Bethesda games as cross-platform has to do with profitability. Without a doubt, Bethesda is one of those publishers that sells millions of copies of their games on all consoles. We see, for example, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim that is on all the consoles of this generation, as they were also in the past. There is even a version of Switch that works quite well, it goes without saying.
Limiting Bethesda games to the Xbox ecosystem seems to limit the possible future sales of these games. Minecraft is the example used in this case, after Microsoft bought Mojang it didn’t make Minecraft exclusive. What’s more, Minecraft Dungeons is not exclusive either, rather it was sold on all platforms as the original game. Why would it be different with Bethesda games?
Without a doubt, the example of Minecraft and Minecraft Dungeons is a good basis for thinking about the possibility that future Bethesda games will be cross-platform. However, the business model that Microsoft has been embracing takes a slightly different perspective, if you think about it. The idea of Game Pass as an exclusivity of Microsoft platforms sounds like a good deal. You offer Game Pass as an exclusive but you keep selling the games off of your platform and you profit equally well. But that also makes your ecosystem less attractive to potential future buyers.
Later, you continue to sell the games from your studios, but your video game platform weakens; therefore your brand, under the idea that it isn’t “necessary” to play your best games. Not counting that it’s an investment of 7.5 million. It doesn’t seem to make much sense to keep the studio as an independent studio that decides which platforms it’s games go to. For this, the best could have been a partnership with Game Pass.
Phil Spencer’s Own Statements
Another good argument to think about the idea of Bethesda to keep it’s future releases on consoles outside of Xbox, are the statements of Phil Spencer about the exclusivity of video games. As he himself has already said, exclusivities in video games are not something to his liking. Among other things, because it enhances that idea of the console wars, Microsoft against Sony. His desire seems to always be to expand the games on multiple platforms.
As we all know, two Bethesda games had agreed to come out as temporary Playstation 5 exclusives. And Phil Spencer said those deals will be honored, ironic as this is. Then he added that future titles would be analyzed on a case-by-case basis. This, although not very promising, has made the internet open to make multiple theories about the arrival of TES VI or Starfield (among others) to PS or Switch, if it is possible. To this they add the whole issue of previous profitability.
Yet they miss out on something more important again. And it is that the purchase of Bethesda has a strategic importance for Xbox. It’s that it adds to its catalog not only very talented studios, but also highly recognized IPs. It’s precisely the latter something that Microsoft had been reproached for throughout this generation; that it depended on the same games and had nothing else to innovate. Xbox was synonymous with Halo, Gears, Forza. And little else (although there are more and very important games). But now Microsoft adds franchises to it’s catalog such as Starfield, Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Doom, Wolfenstein, Prey, Dishonored, and others.
With this, Xbox becomes the platform with most first party games on it’s platform. The way in which the rules of the game have been raised during the past two generations. Mainly the current generation is that a platform is worth it’s exclusives, because it offers the player unique experiences. The power of a console is important, but only if you have games that take advantage of it. And Xbox had the most powerful console (Xbox One X) but not the strongest catalog.
Xbox Series X seemed like it was going to follow that same line. The best platform to play requires, according to the rules created by the industry itself, the best exclusives. Only on Xbox these exclusive experiences are much more extensive than on the competition. Well, Xbox is an ecosystem made up of PC, console and streaming. In fact, if you look at Phil Spencer’s statement closely, he is not talking about going outside of this ecosystem. In fact, he makes it clear that his commitment as head of Xbox is to make the Xbox ecosystem the best place to play. This corresponds not only to the purchase of Bethesda, but also to future studios.
Game Pass Ultimate is the biggest exclusive
Bethesda is not just a purchase for the Xbox console. Yes, it is all that this platform needs. And it serves to give that initial boost that Xbox Series X and Series S need to land hard enough on the new generation. But the scope goes far beyond this. After Amazon announced it’s new cloud gaming service Luna, it has been more expensive than ever as Microsoft not only competes against Sony, but against Stadia and Luna. While against these two it does it more with a view to the future. When cloud gaming becomes the norm.
The exclusivity of Bethesda makes sense not only because it offers it’s present games within the catalog and it’s futures ones as well. Also because it competes against that business model that Luna proposes. Luna will offer specific channels of content per publisher for a fee. Now that Microsoft owns Bethesda, we know there won’t be a Bethesda channel on Luna. It makes sense that there are also no games, present or future from Bethesda studios coming to these streaming services.
The exclusivity that Microsoft is gaining here is both in the present to make it’s platform more competitive within the rules of the game and in the future for it’s streaming service compared to it’s competitors. Microsoft adopted a fairly aggressive stance to show it’s capabilities within the world of gaming, be it on console, PC and cloud gaming. In relation to cloud gaming, Microsoft wants to have the advantage. In fact Microsoft already has it because it’s service is the most developed of all both in coverage and content. But it wants to keep it and accentuate it to be leaders.
With this, we have three good reasons why we think Microsoft will make future Bethesda games exclusive. More than anything, because what seems to be being raised here is the future of the Xbox brand as one of the leading proposals within gaming in general. Buying Bethesda is the first step to this and the exclusivity of their games is followed as a logical step. It must be said that despite the future, it’s the one that will tell us which path Microsoft will take and whether or not this was the best decision.
That wraps up our 3 Reasons Why Bethesda Games Will Be Xbox Exclusives. Stay tuned to Generation Xbox for more features and everything else from the world of Xbox!