Bethesda Games Might Not Be Xbox Exclusive, But Will Be "Best" On Microsoft Systems

Xbox chief executive officer Tim Stuart has talked about Microsoft's purchase of Bethesda again, saying the games might not be exclusives.

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Earlier this year, Microsoft made waves with a $7.5 billion purchase of Bethesda, the company behind Elder Scrolls, Wolfenstein, Dishonored, Doom, and many more huge franchises. Since then, it's been unclear if future Bethesda titles beyond Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo (both announced as PS5 exclusives ahead of the deal) would be console-exclusive to Xbox consoles. Now, some new comments from Xbox chief executive officer Tim Stuart give us some more insight into the thought process behind this purchase--and it's not necessarily about exclusives, but about having the best versions of the games available. [Update: The Microsoft-Bethesda deal has been officially confirmed.]

Speaking during the Jefferies Interactive Entertainment Virtual Conference, which was transcribed by Seeking Alpha (and then picked up on by Gematsu), Stuart talked about the Bethesda purchase, and how it fits within their larger plans. Stuart said that they "highly encourage cross-platform play," and that it's better for them if everyone is succeeding: "classic rising tide lifts all boats," he says.

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Stuart digs into some long-term plans, and says "we don’t have intentions of just pulling all of Bethesda content out of Sony or Nintendo or otherwise." However, even if these games come to other systems, he believes they'll be at their best--and sometimes arrive early--on Microsoft platforms. "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," he says. "We will want Bethesda content to show up the best as--on our platforms."

He says that it's "not a point about being exclusive," or having an adjusted content road map compared to the competition. "But if you think about something like Game Pass, if it shows up best in Game Pass, that’s what we want to see, and we want to drive our Game Pass subscriber base through that Bethesda pipeline," Stuart says.

"So again, I’m not announcing pulling content from platforms one way or the other," he continues. "But I suspect you’ll continue to see us shift towards a first or better or best approach on our platforms."

Because this purchase will not be finalized until 2021, Microsoft and Xbox staff are currently limited in what they can say about future plans--it's likely that more details will come to light in the new year.

Earlier, Bethesda's Todd Howard said that it was "hard to imagine" Elder Scrolls VI being an Xbox exclusive--and now it sounds like it might not be. Microsoft has also suggested before that this purchase was not about exclusive games, and there's been speculation that Microsoft was interested in Bethesda's Orion streaming tech.

Microsoft's own first-party games haven't been exclusive thus far on Xbox Series X and S. Instead, they have launched on Xbox One and on PC, as well. Halo Infinite is even launching on all three platforms when it releases in 2021.

Bethesda also has a new IP in the works, Starfield, which will be developed in a new engine alongside the next Elder Scrolls. Both of these games will launch on Xbox Game Pass, along with all other Bethesda titles.

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