Robert A. Altman, chairman and CEO of ZeniMax Media, echoed Hines, saying the company is “continuing to develop our slate of AAA games, but now with Microsoft’s scale and entire Game Stack, our games can only get better.” All of that information suggests Microsoft does not currently intend to alter the day-to-day operations at Bethesda. This could always change, but it’s worth noting that none of the other recently acquired studios, like Obsidian Entertainment, have given any indication that Microsoft has requested significant creative control of their operations.
What about the games, though? Microsoft has confirmed that future Bethesda titles will be released on Xbox Game Pass at launch. The company specifically named Starfield as a title that it wants to bring to Game Pass on the day that it’s release on Xbox and PC.
Deciphering the fate of future Bethesda games like The Elder Scrolls 6 requires us to be a little more speculative. At the moment, it’s unclear whether future Bethesda games will release exclusively on Xbox consoles and PC.
Phil Spencer informed Bloomberg that, while Microsoft will honor existing PS5 exclusivity deals for Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo, the publisher will determine the release of future Bethesda titles on third-party platforms “on a case-by-case basis.”
Recent history suggests that Microsoft is not as interested in console exclusives as Sony is with the PlayStation 5, releasing first-party titles like Cuphead, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, and Halo: The Master Chief Collection on platforms outside of the Xbox brand in the last few months. To put it another way, The Elder Scrolls 6 would likely sell millions of copies across all platforms. It could make more financial sense for Microsoft to release the game on multiple platforms instead of hoping the game bolsters Xbox hardware sales. Again, that is speculative, but Bethesda’s Todd Howard did note in a published statement that this partnership is about “more than one system or one screen” and that it’s based on a “belief we should bring that to everyone – regardless of who you are, where you live, or what you play on…the screen size, the controller, or your ability to even use one.”