Microsoft Bought Bethesda To Stop Starfield From Becoming A PlayStation Exclusive

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Story Highlights

  • Microsoft reportedly acquired Bethesda to block Starfield from becoming a PlayStation Exclusive, as said by Phil Spencer in the latest FTC court proceedings.
  • Phil Spencer stated that Sony regularly pays out of its pockets to competitors to keep games away from the Xbox ecosystem.
  • A similar thing happened with Bethesda’s Deathloop and Ghostwire, as Sony prevented the games from arriving on Xbox by paying out of its pockets to make them exclusive.
  • Starfield is now a Microsoft exclusive, aiming for a release on PC, Xbox Series X, and Xbox Series S. It will release on Sep 6, 2023, but pre-ordering grants access from Sep 1 onwards.

Microsoft is currently defending its acquisition of Activision Blizzard from FTC in court, leading to many details spilling over to the public. As initially reported by The Verge, the Xbox CEO reportedly had to buy Bethesda to ensure Starfield does not become a PlayStation exclusive. The decision was made to circumvent Sony’s strategy of purchasing exclusivity rights from many studios. 

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,” Says Phil during the court hearings.

Phil Spencer reportedly mentioned that Sony regularly pays out of its pockets to competitors to keep games away from the Xbox ecosystem. We have also seen it happen a multitude of times, with many titles by third-party studios having timed-exclusive rights that prevent them from releasing on any other platforms. Hence, Microsoft had to buy Bethesda outright to ensure Sony did not use its strategy on Starfield.

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.”

Starfield is now an Xbox exclusive, but things could possibly have been very different if Microsoft did not acquire Bethesda. The court proceedings also discussed The Elder Scrolls VI and Phil Spencer refused to elaborate on its exclusivity status. In the past, it was hinted that the game would turn out to be an Xbox exclusive, but Phil is currently unclear about its status. 

I think we’ve been a little unclear on what platforms it’s launching on, given how far out the game is. It’s difficult for us right now to nail down.”

The FTC vs Microsoft court hearings are taking place in full force, with Microsoft trying to defend its prominent merger with Activision Blizzard. FTC previously filed a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction against Microsoft to stop the acquisition from proceeding, and the court proceedings are the latest attempt for Microsoft to protect the deal. 

We have seen a variety of developments in the last two days since the court hearings started with the Federal Trade Commission, such as Microsoft’s unveiling that the next generation of consoles will begin in 2028. We may see even more intriguing tidbits about Starfield or the endeavors of Sony and Microsoft as the court hearings proceed the following week.

Starfield is now a Microsoft exclusive, targeting a release on PC, Xbox Series X, and Xbox Series S. The space-faring RPG will reportedly run at 30 FPS on consoles after launch but is expected to retain the 60 FPS on PC. The exhilarating entry will release on Sep 6, 2023, as unveiled in the Official Launch Date reveal trailer. Regardless, pre-ordering the digital premium edition for early access can grant you entry from Sep 1 onwards.

Similar Reads: Elder Scrolls VI Xbox Exclusivity Is Difficult To Nail Down, Says Phil Spencer.

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