Console wars: Virtually every Bethesda game is highly-anticipated to some extent, but after the overwhelming success of Skyrim in 2011, it's no surprise that everyone is eagerly awaiting the next Elder Scrolls title in particular. Will Elder Scrolls 6 top Skyrim? Or even Starfield? Unfortunately, it looks like only Xbox and PC customers will discover the answer to those questions if recent comments from Xbox Chief Phil Spencer are anything to go by.
When Bethesda was first acquired by Microsoft, virtually anyone who didn't own an Xbox or PC grew concerned. Would all future Bethesda titles be exclusives moving forward? Phil Spencer's reassurances at the time weren't very, well, reassuring. All he was willing to say is that potential exclusivity would be evaluated on a "case-by-case basis."
In a more recent interview with GQ, Spencer was willing to open up a bit more on Microsoft's plans in regards to the Elder Scrolls 6.
"It's not about punishing any other platform, like I fundamentally believe all of the platforms can continue to grow," he said. "But in order to be on Xbox, I want us to be able to bring the full complete package of what we have. And that would be true when I think about Elder Scrolls VI. That would be true when I think about any of our franchises."
Spencer doesn't outright state that the ES6 will be an Xbox/PC exclusive, but given that Starfield will be, it's hard to read his words in any other light. If that is the case, Bethesda will alienate a huge portion of its player base. Moving forward, PlayStation fans will be forced to make a choice.
They can either join the other side -- through Game Pass, xCloud, PC, or an Xbox Series S and X -- or miss out on the next Elder Scrolls. Neither of those options is likely to be very appealing for diehard PlayStation customers, but Microsoft is probably relying on at least a few to bite the bullet.
Of course, there's also the possibility that Starfield and The Elder Scrolls 6 will both be timed exclusives. After all, some of Sony's biggest hits are finally migrating to PC, such as God of War and Horizon Zero Dawn. It is a little unlikely, admittedly, but at least there's precedent for big-budget exclusives crossing the platform divide eventually.