Xbox’s Phil Spencer suggests the Bethsoft buyout won’t limit games launches to Microsoft platforms

    
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Xbox’s Phil Spencer suggests the Bethsoft buyout won’t limit games launches to Microsoft platforms

Microsoft has been up to a lot in recent months, what with a new console launching and a new title in the flagship Halo series, but one of the moves that was most directly linked to us and our readers was the buyout of Bethesda and its studios to the tune of $7.5 billion. Naturally, one of the questions about that is what happens to the developers’ games from here on out? Xbox head Phil Spencer answered just such a question in an interview with Kotaku:

“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. But I’ll also say in the model — I’m just answering directly the question that you had — 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.”

In short, the games that were announced by Bethesda prior to this deal will still arrive to the platforms they’re confirmed for, and the platforms future projects will arrive to will be determined on a case-by-case basis. It’s simply that Xbox and PC players can get a bit of a leg-up thanks to new Microsoft-published games arriving to the Game Pass subscription service, which also packs in a bit of a discount on the purchase of new games by default.

In that same interview (and speaking of the new Halo Infinite), a question came up regarding whether the single-player and multiplayer components of the game would be released separately, to which Spencer replied that “the team will go drive those decisions” ultimately, though he also explained that “I think we want to make sure people feel like they have a Halo experience.”

source: Kotaku

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Danny Smith

With a need to recoup 7 and a half billion dollars no shit they aren’t going to limit themselves to the 3rd place hardware seller.

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Syran

If they release future Bethesda games on other platforms, they would waste the main benefit of such an acquisition: Having exclusive games to draw people to the Xbox ecosystem. More Xbox users means more overall game sales and thus more royalties.

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James Balmer

I mean, it’s Microsoft. They could buy out both Sony and Nintendo tomorrow, if they wanted.

Think about it though, Bethesda games will be going straight to GamePass for Xbox users, while PS5 users have to pay $70 for them. What better reason to buy an Xbox, even just for GamePass, considering buying 3 Bethesda games for PS5 will cost the same as the console.

GamePass is where business is, and it’s only going to get bigger with moves like this.

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Ben Stone

The problem with Xbox is that they lost the last generation (many went from 360 to PS4) and now there are a bunch of us with a huge PS back catalogue. I wouldn’t be surprised if they make Elder Scrolls a Microsoft exclusive. But since that includes PC, us PC gamers should be fine haha. Same goes for most other Microsoft exclusives, I can get them by having a PC and a PS5.

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EmberStar

For me it only includes PC if it’s available from someone that ISN’T the Microsoft Store. If playing it requires logging into the Windows Store, then for me it functionally might as well not exist on PC at all.

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Arktouros

I don’t think they really see that as a problem. The whole “sell more consoles war” way of thinking is really 2010.

In fact that’s exactly the scenario that Microsoft wants to occur. They don’t care if you buy their console. As widely discussed, consoles are usually sold at a loss that they then make up for selling you the products on the platform. If they can sell you the same products without having to sell you a platform it just means more money for them.

They discuss this in this article in fact where they talk about old gen vs current gen consoles and using their xCloud platform to allow people who don’t upgrade to use that service to play the latest games with the latest graphics via that service. They just want you as a customer buying their products they don’t really care what device it’s on.

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EmberStar

I don’t use the Microsoft Store. Ever. So… same deal as for anyone else. If it comes to a webstore I’m willing to do business with (GoG, Steam) then I’ll get the game. If it doesn’t? I’ve got literally a thousand other games in my Steam and GoG libraries I need to finish. (Because “oh, such amazing sale prices!” and I have the time and money budgeting skills of a hamster.)

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Arktouros

The question asked by Kotaku puts the answer into context:

“Is it possible to recoup a $7.5 billion investment if you don’t sell Elder Scrolls VI on the PlayStation?” I asked.

So Phil here is answering if it’s possible to recoup their investment without selling on Playstation and just on the platforms they support, which Phil then listed the platforms they do support (xCloud, PC, Xbox) and they’d get their money worth from the customers on those platforms.

He also later talked up the advantages for them in this scenario because they can offer a Bethesda style title as part of Game Pass for cheaper to Microsoft customers while still selling the title for a full $60 on another platform like Playstation.

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Kevin Smith

” 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. ”

Pretty much to me looks like when they ones that were already announced for cross platform launch that is it for anything on those other systems. It will most likely be X-box and PC from there out from these devs. I understand the reasoning but it sucks when players get left out because they prefer one of the others.

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BalsBigBrother

Microsoft have had a pretty hands off approach with their other high profile purchase. They let Mojang run Minecraft over multiple platforms including PlayStation with crossplay. Minecraft Dungeons a much more recent game also went out on multiple platforms and again cross play across pc, xbox, switch & PS4 will be added next month.

So it’s not without precedent and not a foregone conclusion that the PlayStation or Switch for that matter will be frozen out of future Bethesda / Zenimax games.

My own expectations are that they will probably be a timed console exclusive to Xbox initially (along with a pc release) but will end up on all platforms eventually.

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Kanbe

Timed exclusive is my guess as well. They’d lose a decent chunk of potential revenue by not shipping to other platforms. But to boost their own user base, a timed exclusive will help with that while not really hurting total profit.

Not saying I like timed wxclusives, but that’s where I think this will head.

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EmberStar

On the other had the “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” survival game “Grounded” is integrated directly with having an XBox / Microsoft account, and can’t even be played multiplayer on Steam until you log into the MS Mothership. It can be played singleplayer – but nags you at the start of every game that some features will be disabled until you log in.

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BalsBigBrother

So it’s like Minecraft on the ps4 then I guess.

That requires you to log on to a Microsoft account if you want to use multiplayer or the store. It seemed odd at first but now I don’t even think about it so a /shrug from me

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Rodrigo Dias Costa

Differently than Minecraft, Grounded is not slated to release on Sony platforms. That could also happen with Outer Worlds 2, and Elder Scrolls 6, since neither have confirmed platforms yet. And Starfield seems to have nixed the platforms from their website or something like that, so…

Not to say these studios will never do multiplatform again I’m pretty sure they’ll do with games that make sense, like Minecraft Dungeons (the IP was already so much over the place, so there’s hope for ES6).

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Java Jawa

We live in a time riddled with exclusives. While xbox needs some big exclusives , at least we have the pc.

I only wish Sony would do something similar. I don’t really want to buy a console just to play exclusives.

What I don’t understand is how FF7 remake is only available on the PS4, but FF15 was available on pc,.xbox and PS4.

Feels like we are moving backwards in terms of games. I’d love to play insomniacs spider man on my PC , doesn’t look like it’ll happen.

In the end, it’s us gamers that get hurt with these exclusives.

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Syran

Many of the best exclusives would likely not exist if exclusivity was not a thing. Platform holders invest heavily in their games because they sell their hardware, even if the games themselves often don’t turn out to be profitable.

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Michael18

I agree that this sounds plausible, somehow. But I wonder if it is actually true or just a convenient thing to say for the platform owners.

Do you really think games like Breath of the Wild, God of War, Bloodborne, Horizon Zero Dawn, Ghosts of Tsushima lost money? Do you have sources? And even if that were the case, do you think they would have also lost money with the additional sales from PC/Xbox included?

I think exclusives are really bad, because they force people to buy an entire computer just to play 2-3 exclusives they might be interested in. It’s a huge waste of resources and just feels bad.

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Schmidt.Capela

It’s not about those games losing money, but rather about the extra console sales (and associated game sales) driven by those games more than making up the lost game sales on competing consoles.

I do agree that it’s something only a jerk could devise, though. It’s why I refuse to purchase or play 3rd party games where the publisher or the developer signed an exclusivity contract, with a few exceptions (like Bayonetta 2, where the game literally wouldn’t exist if Nintendo didn’t rescue the development of the first Bayonetta and bankrolled the development of the second one).

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Syran

Isn’t the title of this article a bit misleading?
I may be missing something, but I see absolutely no promise from Phil Spencer that future Bethesda games won’t be exclusive to Microsoft platforms.

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Tanek

I was thinking the same thing. What I read sounded like “we don’t intend to take games away from players, but now that you mention it…we could if we wanted to…”

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

You’re right – we were using the word colloquially here, but he doesn’t exactly swear it on the good book, and given the distrust for this deal, the word choice is relevant. We’ll alter it – thanks for the note.

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Syran

Thanks for the update. I interpreted this whole “This deal was not done to take games away from another player base” thing more like a statement about not having any malicious intentions. Meaning they make the deal benefit Xbox, not to harm PlayStation or Switch owners. But just because that wasn’t the initial intention, it doesn’t mean that they’re not still going to do it.

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EmberStar

Meh, to me it all sounds like Vader from Empire Strikes Back: “I am altering the deal. Pray I do not alter it further.”