Bethesda And Microsoft Respond To Starfield On PS5 Questions
"We have tried to be as clear as possible, not a timed exclusive, this is simply where the game is being made."
Microsoft's acquisition of Bethesda has ruffled some feathers because it means that at least some of the studio's games are now becoming Xbox properties, leaving PlayStation behind. Bethesda's Pete Hines and Xbox's Aaron Greenberg discussed this as part of Gamescom recently, and Hines started off by saying he doesn't actually have a good answer for PlayStation fans who are upset by the news. In the wake of Starfield being announced as an Xbox exclusive, Hines also acknowledged that, "I don't know if I would go so far as to say you're done ever playing stuff on PlayStation." [Following the publication of this story, Hines and Greenberg shared additional commentary on social media regarding this interview]
"I have no idea how to state this in a way when ... I don't know. I don't know the answer. It doesn't exist. It's not like I know it and I just don't want to tell you. I don't know," Hines said.
Hines went on to point out that Bethesda fans on PlayStation consoles might not be shut out entirely from playing future titles from the studio, though it seems clear Xbox is getting preferential treatment as would be expected in this type of situation.
"There are Xbox brands that exist on other platforms, first and foremost. I think that's important to note. Minecraft didn't just stop existing on anything once Mojang got bought by Xbox," Hines said. "It's a massively played game on all of these other platforms. It's not a, 'Sorry, you're never going to get to play anything by Bethesda again.' Certainly, there are going to be things that you're not going to be able to play [on PlayStation]."
"Starfield, it was announced as a thing that's an Xbox exclusive," he said. "I don't know if I would go so far as to say you're done ever playing stuff on PlayStation. But again, I don't know the answer to that right now."
Bethesda's next big game, Deathloop, remains exclusive to PS5 on console (it's also coming to PC), but that's because the publishing deal for the game was in place before Microsoft acquired Bethesda.
As for Greenberg, he said he's wary to even talk about the issue because of how mixed-up things can get with his quotes. "I want to be careful. I know it's a question people care a lot about. It's also a tricky one for us to answer because, frankly, it can get sensationalized on the internet," he said.
Posting on Twitter, Greenberg said Starfield is not a timed exclusive for Xbox. "This is simply where the game is being made."
We have tried to be as clear as possible, not a timed exclusive, this is simply where the game is being made. 💚— Aaron “Day One On Game Pass” Greenberg 🙅🏼♂️💚U (@aarongreenberg) August 30, 2021
As for Hines, he said people who thought he was suggesting Starfield could come to PS5 someday are grasping at straws.
No, that isn't what I was suggesting. pic.twitter.com/fkoXql9FkI— Pete Hines (@DCDeacon) August 30, 2021
Greenberg mentioned that Microsoft's acquisition of Bethesda was driven by a desire to beef up the company's first-party portfolio with an eye toward giving Xbox players the best experience. That said, Greenberg acknowledged that he is mindful and thoughtful about the way in which Microsoft's deal with Bethesda affects players on all platforms.
To that end, Greenberg reminded people that Microsoft's first-party games will also release on PC and through the cloud, so PlayStation users could play that way. "We're not saying you have to buy an Xbox to play those games," Greenberg said.
Hines went on to say in the interview that people should pay attention to what Xbox is doing in the cloud and streaming departments. Once streaming becomes more common, it won't matter which box you own, whether that's a TV, phone, or "maybe some other device," he said.
"If you can start to conceptualize down the road where cloud can go, it starts to not care about what platform. It just says, 'I'm an Xbox Game Pass cloud thing and you can stream me on a thing if you've got a controller,'" he said.
Indeed, Microsoft has already announced plans to create its own streaming stick for xCloud and to work with TV manufacturers to build streaming support directly into TVs. The days of needing to buy a dedicated game console might be coming to an end, though Microsoft has repeatedly stressed that streaming will only be an option for those who want it. The company will continue to produce dedicated gaming hardware.
That said, Hines said he is a big believer in Xbox boss Phil Spencer's forward-looking vision that goes beyond the console alone.
"The whole idea of it's either an Xbox thing or it's a PlayStation thing, I'm not saying that's gone away, but that's a little bit too 1990s, 2000. It's a new era of gaming [today] being everywhere," he said.
In the future, the model that Fortnite takes might become more common, Hines said. He mentioned that Epic's battle royale game doesn't think of itself as a game made for one specific device but rather as a platform that's accessible anywhere.
"That's why I'm so excited about Xbox, is because it's moved away from this, 'We're trying to sell a box and that's all we care about.' We do care about that, but I think the vision there and the goals there are much bigger and more exciting, quite honestly," Hines said.
In the same interview, Greenberg implored fans to please not name their baby "Game Pass."
This story has been updated to more accurately reflect what Hines said.