Microsoft shocked the gaming world last month when it acquired Bethesda and Zenimax Media last month, meaning lots of top-notch gaming franchises like The Elder Scrolls and Doom would now be in its pocket.
The deal was also worth a massive sum of money (a whopping $7.5 billion US dollars), more than what the company paid back in 2014 for Minecraft and games company Mojang.
This likely left some people thinking how Microsoft plans to recoup its investment, something which Xbox boss Phil Spencer was asked in a recent interview with gaming outlet Kotaku (via IGN).
Actually, Spencer was asked whether recouping the massive amount of money spent acquiring Bethesda would be possible without selling the highly anticipated Elder Scrolls VI on Sony’s PlayStation 5 console.
To this, Microsoft’s Phil Spencer instantly replied “yes”, suggesting that the next instalment of The Elder Scrolls series would not be released on PlayStation.
However, Spencer also insisted that Microsoft’s plan wasn’t to prevent people on other platforms from playing games like The Elder Scrolls VI.
“This deal was not done to take games away from another player base like that”, said Spencer. “We want more people to be able to play games, not fewer people to be able to go play games”, added the Microsoft man.
As part of his somewhat ambiguous response, Spencer reiterated that Microsoft doesn’t have to bring the game to other platforms other than its own to make the Bethesda deal work for them.
“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”, said Spencer.
So, does this mean PlayStation 5 owners will have to buy an Xbox console to play The Elder Scrolls VI, or get a gaming PC to do so?
Last month Spencer said that, aside from Ghostwire: Tokyo and Deathloop, which will launch as PS5 exclusives, other Bethesda games would see a release on other consoles aside from Xbox “on a case by case basis”.
And Phil Spencer’s response in this latest interview does suggest The Elder Scrolls VI might not be coming to PS5. After all, $7.5 billion is a big chunk of money and making a Bethesda game like the next Elder Scrolls VI an Xbox exclusive would make the Xbox Series X and S much more attractive gaming platforms.
But then, it does make sense that Spencer would answer like this given that the launch of the new Xboxes is just around the corner, but his comment that Microsot “wants more people to play games” might also indicate that Elder Scrolls VI and other Bethesda games like Starfield might only be timed exclusives on Xbox, and eventually come to Sony consoles.
After all, Microsoft did not keep Minecraft away from the PS4 after buying Mojang in 2014, and it would be strange not to see a game as big as The Elder Scrolls VI hit the PlayStation 5, even if earlier games like The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind were not released on a Sony console though.
But we must also take into account that a launch date for the next Elder Scrolls game is well into the future. Taking into account Bethesda plans to release Starfield first, we might not see a new Elder Scrolls until at least 2024, and things could be dramatically different when that date arrives, with Microsoft deciding Elder Scrolls VI on PS5 does make a lot of sense.
It would also be a pity to block The Elder Scrolls VI from PS5, taking into account that its predecessor Skyrim is one of the best role-playing games of all time and that the follow-up is bound to be another fantastic RPG. Few companies are as good as Bethesda when it comes to making big, open world games, that’s for sure.
It’s a matter of wait and see, then, as both Microsoft and Sony get ready to launch new consoles in a year marked by COVID-19, but I sincerely hope that both PS5 and Xbox owners get to play The Elder Scrolls VI in the future.
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