Microsoft shouldn’t have forced Bethesda to make Starfield Exclusive
One of the most highly anticipated games of the year would definitely have to be Starfield. The game has been in development for at least five years, and it will be the first new intellectual property from Bethesda in 25 years.
The game offers multiple avenues of play and customization with 1,000 planets to explore. The game is anticipated to have almost a decade worth of playability. Yet, Starfield will only be available to be enjoyed by a select few—Xbox and Windows PC gamers.
According to Phil Spencer, as reported by IGN, Starfield was going to be a PlayStation exclusive. Their buyout of Bethesda turned things the other way.
Starfield should be released for all
In 2021, Microsoft acquired ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks, for $7.5 billion. Since then, it was the fear of many that beloved games like the Elder Scrolls or Fallout would become Xbox exclusives.
It seems this fear has become a reality.
It was recently announced that Starfield will be exclusive to Xbox and Windows PC. This was brought up during a hearing on June 22nd, in federal court, where the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is seeking to stop Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard (whole other can of worms).
Peter Hines, the longtime Bethesda Softworks executive who is now its head of publishing, said in a testimony that Starfield is an “irresponsibly large game.”
Hines was trying to make the point that developing Starfield for other platforms would almost certainly mean more delays to the game.
But is a finished game worth exclusion?
When Microsoft bought Bethesda and their parent company, they bought a video game developer. Not a Xbox content developer, but a video game developer.
Microsoft has an obligation to maintain the fanbase of the IPs they have inherited and part of that obligation is of course releasing titles to platforms like the PlayStation.
I also find it unlikely that players would switch platforms to play specific titles because of this I imagine that Microsoft will miss out potential sales from excluding a behemoth platform like the PlayStation.
I fear that this decision to make Starfield exclusive will begin a slippery slope when it comes to game development and release. Now, platform exclusives are nothing new. Mario will always be on Nintendo platforms and Master Chief will always belong to Microsoft, but the works of Bethesda have defined gaming over the past decade and have released titles to all platforms.
To change that would disrupt the game industry dramatically and could possibly lead to a precedent of exclusive releases only from here on out. A cutthroat culture may become the norm in the industry.
Starfield will not be released on PlayStation. That won’t change anytime soon, maybe not ever.
If Microsoft was really worried about delaying the game, they should know that us Bethesda fans are patient (or masochistic) and more than willing to wait years for the experience we want.
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