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Phil Spencer says Bethesda games can be Xbox exclusive and still make a profit

What is going to happen to future Bethesda games? (pic: Bethesda)

The head of Xbox has seemed to imply that future Bethesda games will not be coming to PS5, although he’s stopped short of confirming it.

Ordinarily, there’s only one reason a console manufacturer buys a developer (or a whole publisher) and that’s to make their games exclusive, but whether that will be the case for Bethesda remains a mystery.

Xbox boss Phil Spencer has given the closest thing to a straight answer so far though, when asked by Kotaku whether Microsoft can still recoup their $7.5 million investment if they don’t sell Elder Scrolls 6 on PlayStation 5 .

Spencer’s answer was simply ‘Yes’, before adding: ‘This deal was not done to take games away from another player base like that. Nowhere in the documentation that we put together was: ‘How do we keep other players from playing these games?’ We want more people to be able to play games, not fewer people to be able to go play games.’

He then continued: ‘When I think about where people are going to be playing and the number of devices that we had, and we have xCloud and PC and Game Pass and our console base, I don’t have to go ship those games on any other platform other than the platforms that we support in order to kind of make the deal work for us. Whatever that means.’

It’s been widely assumed that new franchises such as Starfield will likely be Xbox exclusives but the real question mark has been over established franchises such as Fallout and The Elder Scrolls, which would create a backlash if they suddenly become exclusives.

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Spencer’s answer tries to have things both ways but it makes it clear that Microsoft is certainly considering making them exclusive. And while he obviously wants to avoid just saying yes or no it’s very likely that Microsoft simply hasn’t decided yet, given neither game has a new entry planned anytime soon.

He has already said that the decision will be made on a ‘case-by-case basis’ though, implying that some games at least will be exclusives.

So far the only indication of Microsoft’s plans has been next gen remasters for Wolfenstein, Dishonored, and Prey, which appear to be Xbox Series X/S exclusives. Although those releases are too minor to draw any real conclusions.

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