In 2018, Bethesda gave us our first look at Starfield, its ambitious sci-fi RPG in development for next-gen consoles (PS5 and Xbox Series X) at the time. At the time, Starfield was quite early in development so nothing besides a vague teaser was actually shown. We knew it was a far way off.
Fast-forward a few years and we still don’t know much about Starfield. But during this time, Microsoft has since acquired Bethesda which raised a very interesting question about Starfield and the rest of Bethesda’s catalog of games. Will their future titles be exclusive to Xbox and PC?
While many of Bethesda’s games have already been added to Xbox Game Pass for console and PC, it’s still unclear how Microsoft intends to handle future game releases. Will Microsoft leverage the popularity of Bethesda’s IP to bolster its own console sales and Xbox Game Pass subscriptions by making these games exclusive?
Microsoft has seemingly been noncommittal regarding console exclusivity. The company confirmed that “some new titles” will be exclusive to Xbox and PC, but didn’t specify which ones.
If a new rumor is to be believed, Starfield could be among the first to be exclusive to Xbox and PC. GamesBeat journalist Jeff Grubb recently took to Twitter to reaffirm previous reports, stating: “Starfield is exclusive to Xbox and PC. Period. This is me confirming that.”
Neither Microsoft nor Bethesda have confirmed it themselves so take Grubb’s reporting with a grain of salt. With E3 coming up, hopefully, we get some clarity on the exclusivity situation regarding Bethesda’s titles. Perhaps it will be on a case-by-case basis.
I’ve never been a fan of console exclusivity but I understand the reasoning from a business standpoint. Microsoft, Sony and even Nintendo want to sell consoles (or subscription services) and exclusive games offer them leverage. Exclusive games provide incentives to go out and play their console.
Honestly, for what Microsoft paid for Bethesda (reportedly $7.5 billion), it would be silly for them not to keep these games exclusive to Xbox. I know it would suck for PlayStation gamers who are also diehard Bethesda fans, but that’s the nature of the beast. It’s not like we see Sony going out of its way to release its first-party games on other consoles, although it was interesting to see Sony San Diego’s MLB The Show (normally a PlayStation-exclusive franchise) release on Xbox. This was due to contract negotiation with the MLB, though.
So will Starfield be exclusive to Xbox (and PC)? We don’t know for certain just yet, but it would make sense financially for Microsoft to do so. The question is would Starfield incentivize PlayStation gamers to go out and purchase an Xbox to buy it?