Xbox Chief Financial Officer Tim Stuart, speaking at last week’s Jefferies Interactive Entertainment conference, said that Microsoft wants future Bethesda titles to prioritize their performance on Xbox platforms.
“What we’ll do in the long run is we don’t have intentions of just pulling all of Bethesda content out of Sony or Nintendo or otherwise,” Stuart said in audio transcribed by Seeking Alpha and reported by VGC. “But what we want is we want that content, in the long run, to be either first or better or best or pick your differentiated experience, on our platforms. We will want Bethesda content to show up the best as — on our platforms.”
In September, Microsoft announced their intention to purchase ZeniMax Media, the privately held parent company of Bethesda Softworks, for $7.5 billion. The deal has yet to be finalized, but is expected to be completed in the second half of the 2021 fiscal year.
The acquisition will effectively transform Bethesda, known for franchises like The Elder Scrolls, Fallout and Doom, into a first-party developer for Microsoft and has raised questions about which platforms the developer’s new games would be available. Microsoft has previously said that new Bethesda games will come to non-Xbox platforms, such as the PlayStation 5, on a “case-by-case” basis.
Executive Vice President of gaming at Microsoft Phil Spencer has said that Bethesda will honor prior commitments to Sony, allowing games like Deathloop and GhostWire: Tokyo to debut on PlayStation platforms. However, Spencer has also said that future titles like Starfield will be available on Xbox Game Pass on launch day.
“But if you think about something like Game Pass, if it shows up best in Game Pass, that’s what we want to see, and we want to drive our Game Pass subscriber base through that Bethesda pipeline,” Stuart said, echoing Spencer’s previous statements. “So again, I’m not announcing pulling content from platforms one way or the other,” Stuart continued. “But I suspect you’ll continue to see us shift towards a first or better or best approach on our platforms.”