HideLast Call: Our Black Friday weekend sale ends tonight! Shop now to save on all Techdirt gear »
HideLast Call: Our Black Friday weekend sale ends tonight! Shop now to save on all Techdirt gear »

Microsoft: Bethesda Games Will Be 'First, Best' On Xbox, PC

from the fragmentation dept

Several weeks back, we discussed how Microsoft and its newly acquired property, Bethesda Softworks, were making seemingly conflicting statements on what the purchase of the studio meant for beloved franchises like Fallout and Elder Scrolls, among others. Concerns popped up immediately after the acquisition, with people wondering whether the next Fallout game would be siloed to the Xbox and/or PC, as opposed to showing up on other consoles, such as Sony's PlayStation. Xbox's Phil Spencer kicked the concern into overdrive by noting that he thought Microsoft could recoup its purchase price of Bethesda even if the studio's games weren't sold for the PlayStation. Todd Howard of Bethesda, however, said the studio is committed to making its games available across platforms, while also acknowledging such details with Microsoft hadn't been ironed out.

And so the public was left wondering. Well, now Microsoft has once again commented publicly, this time stating that it doesn't plan to restrict Bethesda games from other consoles, but would instead look to make those games "first and best" on the Xbox and PC.

Speaking at the Jeffries Interactive Entertainment Virtual Conference last Friday (as transcribed by Seeking Alpha), Stuart said directly that "in the long run... we don't have intentions of just pulling all of Bethesda content out of Sony or Nintendo or otherwise. 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."

"That's not a point about being exclusive," Stuart continued. "That's not a point about... adjusting timing or content or road map. 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."

This, frankly, clarifies nothing. Stating that perhaps games will be "first" on Microsoft's platforms and then stating that it has nothing to do with timing of the release on other platforms is contradictory. If it's "first" on one platform, it must therefore be at least "second" on others. Likewise, stating you want a game to be "best" on Microsoft platforms and then stating it has nothing to do with content is, again, contradictory. If not the content, what could possibly make a game better on one platform than the other.

It's unclear why Microsoft is remaining so opaque about all of this, but it sure sounds like some version of either EPIC's timed exclusives or Sony's exclusive content for games. Both are controversial in their own rights, and likely not great for the gaming ecosystem as a whole, but at least both companies play it straight with their customers.

In this case, we all just have to wait and see how high a fence Microsoft does or does not want to put around these beloved game franchises.

Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: compatibility, elder scrolls, fallout, pcs, platforms, ps5, video games, xbox
Companies: bethesda, microsoft


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Greta Schtickenwackit, 20 Nov 2020 @ 7:58pm

    we all just have to wait and see - let them just SEE if we wait!

    I've begun to lose hope in you, Timmy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    radix (profile), 20 Nov 2020 @ 8:20pm

    The deal isn't done yet.

    No doubt they have internal analysis about which monetization methods will lead to the greatest revenue, but sharing that publicly right now could gum up any regulatory investigations that might arise out of such a large acquisition. Getting too public about it, just in case things fall apart, could harm both companies down the road. They have to continue to operate as separate entities for the time being.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Zos (profile), 20 Nov 2020 @ 11:10pm

    Interesting you should bring up Epic

    Every single major release this year epic cut a deal on has also shown up as a day one release for gamepass xbox and pc versions. mechwarrior 5, outer worlds, wasteland 3 all spring to mind.
    spreading gamepass across both has definitely pulled some money from steam i'd have spent there otherwise, but their slow patching is still hindering them

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Samuel Abram (profile), 21 Nov 2020 @ 7:10am

      Re: Interesting you should bring up Epic

      outer worlds, wasteland 3

      First of all, do you mean outer wilds? Because I saw Outer Worlds on GOG. I also saw Wasteland 3 on GOG, as that was crowdfunded through fig and some of the people who backed it through that platform (as opposed to investing in it) wanted to play it on Steam or GOG (or itch.io, whichever). I know this for a fact because I'm one of those people who backed Wasteland 3 on FIG and received it through GOG. It was worth every penny and then some!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bruce C., 21 Nov 2020 @ 5:00am

    Waiting for Bethesda...

    Don't have to wait. Even before the acquisition, Bethesda put out multiple releases of Skyrim for different platforms -- sometimes years apart. So rather than forcing exclusives for artificial marketing, it seems more like MS is prioritizing specific platforms to avoid over-hiring staff just to have simultaneous releases. Prioritizing Xbox/PC is obvious self-interest.

    If this hypothesis is correct, PS5 (also on AMD) versions could come out simultaneously but unoptimized or slightly later with some optimizations. Other platforms like phones could take longer.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    Just Tech (profile), 21 Nov 2020 @ 8:03am

    Cash App Helpline

    JustTech.help is one of the leading global technical support number provider for consumers worldwide. Skilled experts who have years of experience in providing fixtures. JustTech has always won your trust in the highest global standards of quality and performance in calls and extreme conditions. justTech is an online Official Customer Care Number Provider company. it provides Companies phone number for technical support all over the world.

    https://justtech.help/

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Markus, 21 Nov 2020 @ 8:04am

    Great job!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Bloof (profile), 21 Nov 2020 @ 8:35am

    It's fairly safe to say the PS5 ports will ne handed off to the cheapest outside developer they can find with a short deadline that leads them to be released even less complete than the MS releases, and if they do a good job in spite of that, they won't be first choice for future projects.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    :Lobo Santo (profile), 21 Nov 2020 @ 11:08am

    All the best

    |Bethesda... will be best.

    Allow me to reply with an honest and heartfelt rebuttal based upon decades of experience and interaction with Bethesda products:

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha he he ha ha!! Snort giggle tee-hee oh gawd, my sides... I can't breathe...

    Thank you, that is all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2020 @ 7:02pm

      Re: All the best

      I was going to comment about this but then I fell through the floor and my save got the formid bug and one thing led to anoth-A PROBLEM HAS BEEN DETECTED AND WINDOWS HAS BEEN SHUT DOWN TO PREVENT DAMAGE TO YOUR COMPUTER

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 24 Nov 2020 @ 6:16am

      Re: All the best

      Well, it's true. Bethesda has all the best bugs. I dunno, that company pushes some of the best lore and worldbuilding in game bar none...but the bugs in their code seems equally creative. There's a reason modders regularly issue unofficial bug and optimization patches for those games.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2020 @ 1:57pm

    • if it shows up best in Game Pass, that's what we want to see, *

    What the hell does this even mean.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    TheForumTroll (profile), 21 Nov 2020 @ 2:53pm

    Well you see

    ..even if the games for PS5 becomes worse than the Xbox versions it can only be better than the buggy mess Bethesda releases now. So, win/win.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Darkness Of Course (profile), 21 Nov 2020 @ 3:02pm

    The targets aren't very different

    Just take a breath. Both PS5 and Xbox whatever run on AMD Application SOC, the delta between their choices are not very significant. Granted there will be fine tuning required, but most of that is handled in libraries anyway.

    The differences between them and a PC is also minimal. Either way, it will happen as it does, and PS5s will get the games.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 23 Nov 2020 @ 8:32am

      Re: The targets aren't very different

      Architecture is one thing, but what about operating system? Windows and Mac may both run on Intel chips, but that doesn't mean you can run a Windows executable on a Mac. I doubt XBox and PS5 have even vaguely compatible OSes. With that said, if they run on a game engine that exists on both platforms, maybe it's write once-ish run anywhere. I don't know that much about game development specifically.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2020 @ 6:57pm

    It's pretty well recognised

    That games are pretty much definitionally "Best" on PC.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    leonardperkins, 22 Nov 2020 @ 3:21am

    Awesome post

    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. 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. https://american-writers.org/

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      scottwright, 22 Nov 2020 @ 3:34am

      Re: Awesome post

      Stuart also said he expected retail shortages of the new Xbox Series X and Series S could continue through the first quarters of 2021, as the supplies of the system ramp up over the next few months.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Nov 2020 @ 7:38am

    Options are best but...

    Right now we have options:
    -the option to play games on different hardware
    -the option to either buy physical or digital games
    -the option to stream games
    These are the best of times to be a gamer because we have options, but, unfortunately, we’re headed for a digital only gaming future because it’s more profitable for publishers. I don’t look forward to digital only gaming, but hopefully:
    -digital games will be cheaper than physical
    -digital games will have the same return policies as physical
    -gamers will be able to trade/resale digital games just like they can physical games.
    Otherwise, I’ll be a retro (read: physical copy only) gamer.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    bhull242 (profile), 23 Nov 2020 @ 7:42am

    I don’t normally defend Microsoft and especially not Bethesda, but I think I have an idea for how games could be “best” on PC/Xbox without being about content, specifically. Basically, with the inside knowledge from Microsoft, the idea might be to make Bethesda games optimized for PC and XBox consoles.

    Similarly, it’s possible “first” merely means “first-rate”.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Essential Reading
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.