After the news headlines hit that Microsoft acquired ZeniMax, the big question was “what goes on to Bethesda’s biggest games?” While acquisitions mean exclusives usually, there exists a big reason The Elder Scrolls 6 may be an exception.
Alex, GI’s “largest video editor,” and I recently recorded a small podcast, which may be seen at the top of the article, where we discussed the recent acquisition and what which means in the years ahead potentially. While we clearly stated there are likely to be some exclusives ahead using this definitely, the biggest question that hit our inboxes was about The Elder Scrolls 6.
First, some background. The statements made concerning the acquisition weren’t just wishful thinking. I’ve a master’s degree running a business with a concentrate on marketing and I am in this industry for 17 years. I’m not likely to say anything, never to a big audience like Game Informer especially, unless I could it up and also have experiences that lend validity back. To do is actually asking to be crucified otherwise, and believe me, gaming journalists already get enough of this. That said, I’m also not saying my word is law. Microsoft will be well of their rights to create everything acquired a special.
Another factor in to the statements made included a deep dive Not long ago i published concerning Sony and Microsoft having wildly different marketing approaches for next gen. So different, actually, that it oblierates how exactly we look at comparing both platforms. If this acquisition happened ago four roughly years, I would not need hesitated to state every Bethesda IP would now be an Xbox exclusive, however now? The overall game has changed in a large way, and that is not just a sure thing.
“But Phil Spencer said…”
Before we dive right in, I want to reference a comment created by Xbox boss Phil Spencer. With Bethesda and id Software being on the list of studios beneath the ZeniMax umbrella, the fate of several epic franchises remains unclear. When asked concerning the future of exclusivity, Spencer mentioned that the united team is honoring the pre-agreed PlayStation 5 timed exclusivity for games like Ghostwire and Deathloop, but all IPs going will be on an incident by case basis forward.
With new IPs like Starfield, it could make sense to create those games exclusive to Xbox Series X/S and PC because those are completely new communities which can be built from the bottom up. As stated in the aforementioned video, Starfield fits that space adventure niche that Halo currently resides in also. Given the decline of the Halo fanbase and Infinite’s mixed reception, Starfield is poised to fill a gap that may be left out.
New IPs versus history
I feel just like the worthiness in taking advantage of big franchises like Doom and Fallout is really a smart idea but there exists a catch when considering some properties over others. Five years back, Xbox could have lept at the noticeable change for exclusivity. Because they should. But Microsoft’s current online marketing strategy is taken off hardware limitations, instead focusing purely on intangible core goals that have a home in the ongoing services realm like Xbox Game Pass and xCloud. Due to that, they will have a freedom that Sony does not have because Sony is continuing on with the original gaming metric of hardware sales. And you’ll find nothing wrong with that, at all, but that marketing mindset has been scoring as much exclusives as you possibly can inline, and that is a marketing mindset that Microsoft currently isn’t in.
Because of the various marketing approach, Xbox comes with an opportunity to become more strategic making use of their exclusive plays. Make Starfield exclusive and you will have angry gamers (like always) but eventually, everything will undoubtedly be righted and the grouped community will move ahead. Remove franchises like Elder and Fallout Scrolls, both which have fans in the millions with long histories mounted on them, and there’s monetary and reputuational damage that undermines their entire company goal. I’m not talking a dent in reputation, I’m talking entire obliteration which will destroy all the careful work which has gone into proving to fans that they can be transparent and stay true with their “gaming is for several” message that has been birthed following mess that has been the Xbox One launch.
Under Phil Spencer’s leadership, the core focus dramatically has shifted. That is now, again once, the ongoing company we remember from the initial Xbox and 360 days, the ongoing company that gamers loved and trusted. Spencer and his team spent some time working incredibly hard to obtain the brand back under that same spotlight after massive levels of damage impacted public perception before the launch of the Xbox One using its confused messaging regarding backwards compatibility and the paltry lineup of games that made that system special.
“But Microsoft is available of earning money” versus Alienation
“But Microsoft is available of earning money,” is what I hear probably the most in rebuttal. And the ones folks are right, but that isn’t exclusive to keeping a house just like the Elder Scrolls open. If Microsoft permits The Elder Scrolls 6 to stay the PlayStation 5 library, they shall lose a cut, but not lose out on sales entirely. The house is owned by them, they own the rights-they will make money from the game even though Sony offers it on the platform.
I can’t, from the continuing business and marketing angle, see Microsoft alienating 12 million audience solely for an exclusivity deal that isn’t really exclusive. If any games are ‘exclusive’, they’ll still be on PC because that is clearly a section of Microsoft’s core system in the years ahead. They’ll be through services like Game Pass and xCloud also.
Why comparing what Microsoft would do from what Sony would do doesn’t make sense
If we were discussing Sony acquiring Bethesda, this conversation wouldn’t even be happening. Sony gains from pure exclusivity, it generally does not value PC also it doesn’t value going a purely service-focused route. Sony has been very transparent about not attempting to walk in Microsoft’s footsteps since it doesn’t note that strategy as “sustainable.” But Microsoft does, and that key philosophy difference is excatly why comparing what Sony would do from what Microsoft would do doesn’t seem sensible.
These two companies are no on a single playing field longer, as cited in the coverage linked close to the start of the article comparing strategies. For another generation, we have to relearn how exactly we view both platforms and what they bring to the table and how they strategically navigate an ever-evolving industry.
Yes, you will see exclusives
Yes, you will see exclusives, completely. But this acquisition allowed Microsoft rights to many properties, tending to make sure they are money. Some exclusives will not translate to total exclusivity until they confirm otherwise and predicated on my experience with this particular industry and my business background, I cannot imagine Microsoft backtracking that drastically.
Could their online marketing strategy shift in the foreseeable future? Absolutely. The shift is really a massive pivot right away of the gen now. Change happens, companies evolve. But with the existing statement and goal of intent? No, making games just like the Elder Scrolls 6 Xbox exclusives is from the sure thing far.