Starfield Could Have Been A PlayStation Exclusive, Prompting Microsoft's ZeniMax Acquisition

Now we know why Microsoft spent so much money to buy Bethesda.


Xbox boss Phil Spencer revealed that Xbox's highly anticipated RPG Starfield could have been PlayStation exclusive and Microsoft had purchased Zenimax to prevent that from happening.

While speaking with the FTC about the Activision Blizzard acquisition (via The Verge) today, we know that Spencer revealed that Sony pays competitors on a routine basis to skip Xbox. So to prevent this from happening, Microsoft felt it needed to purchase Bethesda to prevent it from being a PlayStation exclusive. Spencer had this to say about purchasing Zenimax:

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"When we acquired ZeniMax, one of the impetus for that is that Sony had done a deal for Deathloop and Ghostwire... to pay Bethesda to not ship those games on Xbox," Spencer said. "So the discussion about Starfield when we heard that Starfield was potentially also going to end up skipping Xbox, we can't be in a position as a third-place console where we fall further behind on our content ownership, so we've had to secure content to remain viable in the business."

Microsoft originally purchased ZeniMax and its subsidiaries, such as Bethesda, in 2021, for $7.5 billion. Once the deal was official, it was revealed that Bethesda would release "some" games exclusive to Xbox and PC. Since then, Bethesda released Redfall as an Xbox / PC exclusive and plans to do the same with Starfield.

For more news on what Phil Spencer said to the FTC today, check out our story on how Spencer said that The Elder Scroll 6 doesn't have a platform yet, and is five-plus years away and how Xbox would suffer "irreparable harm" if it went back on CoD PlayStation promises.

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