Editor's take: Microsoft's pending acquisition of Bethesda's parent company ZeniMax has many wondering about the fate of already announced big-name titles expected to be coming to the PlayStation 5. Phil Spencer says that while Xbox will honor Bethesda's commitment to timed PS5 exclusivity on Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo, uncommitted titles will be considered on a "case-by-case basis." This likely means PlayStation 5 owners will not see huge console sellers like the forthcoming The Elder Scrolls VI any time soon, if at all.
This morning Microsoft announced that it is about to close a $7.5 billion deal to acquire ZeniMax. This pick up is huge for the Redmond tech giant as it places several high-profile gaming franchises from the likes of Bethesda, id Software, and MachineGames in its Xbox stable.
Must-have exclusive content is the one thing the Xbox Series X has been lacking, especially with the delay of Halo Infinite. Now the company has the potential to rope in customers with Xbox exclusivity on big AAA titles such as The Elder Scrolls, Doom, and the Wolfenstein series. It's a move that has long term implications, but even in the short term could work to sell Microsoft's consoles.
In a Monday interview with Bloomberg's Dina Bass, Xbox head Phil Spencer said that as far as exclusivity deals are concerned, the company will look at it on a "case-by-case basis." He added that Microsoft intends to honor the timed exclusivity obligations Bethesda has with Sony for the PlayStation 5 games, Ghostwire: Tokyo and Deathloop.
Spencer also mentioned that the ZeniMax deal has effectively doubled its potential gaming content.
"Content is just foundational to what we do, and with this move, we double the number of content creators we have inside of Xbox," the Xbox chief said.
The move is also likely to be a blow to the PlayStation 5 in the current battle for console supremacy. Sony seemed to be holding an advantage last week when it matched Microsoft's pricepoint for its next-gen console. It spurred a pre-order buying blitz that has systems sold out in a matter of hours.
However, the feeding frenzy had Microsoft's rival apologizing for not having enough consoles to go around and promising more in the coming days and weeks. The shortfalls also fed into fears that a PS5 shortage is on the horizon---claims that Sony has denied, but an analysis of initial GameStop allotments seemed to confirm.
It just goes to show that if you are on the fence about which system to purchase, anything can change in a matter of days, so you might want to hold on a bit longer. It's unlikely Microsoft's move will go unanswered.
Image credit: Joseph GTK