Microsoft’s intent to acquire ZeniMax has led to a lot of speculation — mainly that Bethesda’s large stable of properties would become exclusive to Xbox platforms. To be frank, that would be a pretty big deal — Bethesda games are very popular! We’re talking The Elder Scrolls, Doom, Dishonored, and so on. Microsoft — should the acquisition go through — will own all of those properties. That would be quite the exclusive lineup.
You might want to hold off on the excitement, though. It looks like that may not be the path Microsoft is ultimately going to take when it comes to Bethesda games.
According to Seeking Alpha (via VGC), Microsoft CFO Tim Stuart addressed the deal at last week’s Jefferies Interactive Entertainment conference. Stuart said of Bethesda’s projects, in part, “[…] what we want is we want that content, in the long run, to be either first or better or best or pick your differentiated experience, on our platforms. We will want Bethesda content to show up the best as — on our platforms.”
He later added, “[…] I’m not announcing pulling content from platforms one way or the other. But I suspect you’ll continue to see us shift towards a first or better or best approach on our platforms.”
Basically, Microsoft will almost certainly put Bethesda’s games into Xbox Game Pass. It may add some features that aren’t available anywhere but on Xbox platforms. It could even premiere certain games on Xbox, giving its own platforms temporary exclusivity. Based on what Stuart is saying here, however, it doesn’t sound as though Microsoft is going to prevent Bethesda games from going to PlayStation or Nintendo consoles in the future.
We’ll have more news for you on this as it develops.