With the next generation of gaming consoles fast approaching and the release of the Xbox Series X on the horizon, set to release on November 10, much focus has been on Microsoft’s long-term software plan.
Xbox Game Pass is proving to be a key component of the company’s ecosystem plan, alongside the addition of EA Play factored into the cost of the subscription. Throw in Microsoft’s recent purchase of Bethesda parent company Zenimax media, and it’s clear that there is long-term investment to grow the Xbox brand’s software credentials.
There’s no doubting and little argument that Microsoft and Xbox ultimately lost the current generation through a distinctive lack of first-party software. Additionally, the history of Xbox One paints a console that was always destined to fail next to the power and appeal of the PlayStation 5.
So what of the future of the Xbox Series X? Its launch games lineup is extensive and impressive, albeit packed with current-gen releases, both new and old. The visual upgrades up to 4K and potentially even 120 FPS certainly ups the appeal for gamers, as does Smart Delivery functionality. Still, the big question hovers over Microsoft and Xbox: just what exactly does the Series X bring to the power outside of sheer power?
On the first-party front it has a solid foundation. Halo, Forza, Ori, to name a few. The addition of the likes of Ninja Theory and its Hellblade franchise further stretches that reach, but it’s the likes of Elder Scrolls and Fallout exclusivity that really boosts Xbox Series X’s credentials.
On the topic of Bethesda games — along with id Software, Machine Games, and Arkane, all part of the Zenimax sale — it is appearing increasingly likely that future release — beyond what’s already been announced — will almost certainly be Xbox exclusive.
A huge part of the Zenimax acquisition is the effort Phil Spencer has made in transforming the Xbox brand from one that appeared uncertain back in 2013, to one that is now firmly confident in its identity and vision. He hasn’t clearly spoken about the exclusivity of Zenimax titles moving forward, but reading between the lines it seems like Xbox gamers have a very promising future of gaming to look forward to.
In a recent interview with Kotaku, Spencer again didn’t go as far as to confirm exclusivity for Zenimax and Bethesda games, but did discuss the sheer likelihood of it, even if in somewhat of a cryptic fashion.
“[W]e have xCloud and PC and Game Pass and our console base, I don’t have to go ship those games on any other platform other than the platforms that we support in order to kind of make the deal work for us,” Spencer said. Since the acquisition of Zenimax, many have questioned the financial benefit for Microsoft should it choose to keep the company’s games exclusive. While many seem to believe that it’s immediately beneficial to release future games on PlayStation consoles, Spencer argues that the long term prospect — and thus, the growth of the Xbox ecosystem — is more important. This of course was all in response as to where the Elder Scrolls 6 would appear on PS5.
What do you think? Will Zenimax games come to PlayStation consoles (outside of what’s already confirmed)? Or is it more likely that they remain Xbox exclusives? Sound off in the comments below!