Even Murkier: Microsoft Says Some Bethesda Games Will Indeed Be Xbox, PC Exclusives

from the mine-mine-mine dept

Late last year, we discussed Microsoft's acquisition of Zenimax, the parent company of Bethesda, and what it would mean for the studio's beloved franchises. At particular issue, given that this is Microsoft we're talking about, was whether new or existing franchises would be exclusive to Xbox consoles and/or PC. The communication out of Microsoft has been anything but helpful in this respect. First, Xbox chief Phil Spencer and Bethesda's Todd Howard made vague statements that mostly amounted to: man, we don't have to make Bethesda games exclusives and it's hard to imagine us doing so. Only a few weeks later, another Microsoft representative clarified that while the company may have plans to make Bethesda games "first or best" on Microsoft platforms, "that's not a point about being exclusive." This naturally led most to believe that Microsoft might have timed release windows on other platforms, but wouldn't be locking any specific titles down.

What a difference a few months can make, it seems. With the acquisition officially complete, Microsoft put out a "welcome" announcement to the Bethesda team, which included this fun bit to be consumed by the public.

This is the next step in building an industry-leading first party studios team, a commitment we have to our Xbox community. With the addition of the Bethesda creative teams, gamers should know that Xbox consoles, PC, and Game Pass will be the best place to experience new Bethesda games, including some new titles in the future that will be exclusive to Xbox and PC players.

This, frankly, is the worst of all worlds. The announcement is vague enough to not really give the public any actual idea of what games will be exclusive and which won't. Will it be new franchises developed as a first party studio, or are we talking about franchise mainstays like Fallout and Elder Scrolls? Nobody knows! In fact, all the public does know is that the exclusivity guillotine is hanging out there somewhere. And this drip, drip, drip change in the message to the public sure does make it look like Microsoft had this plan all along and only wanted to avoid a backlash in the public.

A public that has caught wind of a worrying trend in the video game industry: consolidation. 2020, particularly in the second half of the year, saw a violent uptick in studio consolidation under the bigger players. With that consolidation comes a lot of control over distribution of titles and franchises, especially for studios that were acquired by the likes of Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony.

It's not just your imagination: the gaming industry is going through a period of consolidation unlike anything we've seen before. Market research firm DDM collected transaction data over the course of 2020 and found that:

-Gaming industry investment reached a new high of $13.2 billion in 2020, up 77% from 2019.

-M&A volume reached a new high of 220 deals in 2020, a 33% year-over-year increase.

-Things really started heating up in the fourth quarter of 2020, when 75 M&A deals took place, nearly double the number of deals made in Q4 2019.

While some studios have begun to finally open up to selling across platforms, it's quite easy to see danger on the horizon with all of this consolidation. If the ability to distribute titles suddenly ends up primarily in the hands of a small number of corporate entities, we could see huge steps backwards in a return towards exclusive games, exclusive hardware, and the like. For an industry that has been speeding towards more and more revenue, this could be one hell of a speed bump.

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Filed Under: exclusives, video games, xbox
Companies: microsoft


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  • identicon
    LittleCupcakes, 15 Mar 2021 @ 8:27pm

    If the ability to distribute speech suddenly ends up primarily in the hands of a small number of corporate entities, we could see huge steps backwards in a return towards enforced orthodoxy and stifled dissent.

    Fixed that for you.

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

    • identicon
      Rocky, 16 Mar 2021 @ 1:44am

      Re:

      Funnily enough, it has never been easier to personally distribute speech with the help of todays technology.

      If you think you need a corporate entity to be able to get your speech heard, that only means you are lazy, technologically illiterate, utterly uninteresting to listen to or that you feel entitled to an audience.

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

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Rocky Exoplanet and his Toxic Atmospheres, 16 Mar 2021 @ 11:18am

        No need for host or Big Search? Tell us more, "Rocky"!

        You assert a way to be successful on teh internets without a host -- that can withdraw service any time doesn't like your opinions -- and getting noticed without Search Engine Optimization shenanigans that millions of businesses resort to?

        Clearly you have highly valuable knowledge. Just an outline of your method will be enough to at last fulfill Techdirt's claims of practical way by which individuals can take advantage of the new opportunities.

        So please elucidate in all the detail you can. Indeed, submit a long piece to Maz, 'cause if even a tenth of what you casually claim is true, YOU will be famous!

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

        • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
          identicon
          Rocky Exoplanet and his Toxic Atmospheres, 16 Mar 2021 @ 11:19am

          Re: No need for host or Big Search? Tell us more, "Rocky&qu

          New readers, if any:

          A) "Rocky", so I conclude from several years appearing, style of writing, and ardent support of Techdirt though (handily) no account, is yet another sock-puppet screen name of the very Timothy Geigner who wrote the piece! -- Yes, it's difficult to believe so brazen, but seems to me solid conclusion. Techdirt visibly gets more desperate for comments every day...

          B) Key purpose above is to appear have answered cogent dissent with offhand put-down. This works on well-known tendency of persons to believe last item read.

          C) "Rocky's" assertion fits with Techdirt's long-term notion that can achieve success without involving "gatekeepers", as Geigner at times repeats.

          D) YET it's undeniable fact that Maz hasn't done as Rocky claims knows how to! Techdirt is dying -- slowly, by driving out reasonable people with relentless attacks on all dissent -- and yet "Rocky" here has solution that gets around control by hosts besides noticed without Google!

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

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 16 Mar 2021 @ 11:33am

            Re: Re: No need for host or Big Search? Tell us more, "Rock

            "Yes, it's difficult to believe so brazen"

            Well, your random hallucinations are hard to believe without any kind of proof. Do you have some?

            "Techdirt is dying -- slowly"

            If what you say is true, why do you keep driving traffic here?

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

          • identicon
            Rocky, 16 Mar 2021 @ 2:07pm

            Re: Re:

            A) "Rocky", so I conclude from several years appearing, style of writing, and ardent support of Techdirt though (handily) no account, is yet another sock-puppet screen name of the very Timothy Geigner who wrote the piece! -- Yes, it's difficult to believe so brazen, but seems to me solid conclusion. Techdirt visibly gets more desperate for comments every day...

            "Ardent support of Techdirt"? No, ardent loathing for people like you. You and your ilk are a net-loss for humanity.

            B) Key purpose above is to appear have answered cogent dissent with offhand put-down. This works on well-known tendency of persons to believe last item read.

            Please point to anything in my post that's factually incorrect.

            C) "Rocky's" assertion fits with Techdirt's long-term notion that can achieve success without involving "gatekeepers", as Geigner at times repeats.

            Contrary to your belief, people succeed on the internet every day without Google being involved.

            D) YET it's undeniable fact that Maz hasn't done as Rocky claims knows how to! Techdirt is dying -- slowly, by driving out reasonable people with relentless attacks on all dissent -- and yet "Rocky" here has solution that gets around control by hosts besides noticed without Google!

            Please remind me, what was my claim? And does it have any bearing on your hateboner for Techdirt?

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

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 18 Mar 2021 @ 1:56am

            Re: Re: No need for host or Big Search? Tell us more, "Rock

            "...so I conclude from several years appearing, style of writing, and ardent support of Techdirt though (handily) no account, is yet another sock-puppet screen name of the very Timothy Geigner who wrote the piece!"

            Damn, Baghdad Bob, by now your assertions of all the accounts who are sock puppets of Tim and Mike are at the point where for any of your shit to be true Tim is up 24/7 in order to post in different time zones and has a full-time job not doing anything other than being an astroturfer. All exclusively just to counter your arguments.

            That may just be the most narcissistic assumption you keep making; That your broken logic and full disconnect from reality would require anyone to make secondary accounts when the truth is that any halfway sane person reading your drivel feels almost compelled to tell you to put a sock in it. And you aren't exactly putting the bar high when it comes to the level of logic or common sense required to fully refute you.

            But go on, snowflake. Tell us again how Masnick and Geigner are CIA plants helping Google and Big Tech to "silence" you as the no doubt massive threat you pose to their nefarious plans.

            You share a lot of "style" with the seditionist who invaded the capitol and shat on the rotunda floor. Care to tell us where you were on january the 6th?

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

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 16 Mar 2021 @ 11:31am

          Re: No need for host or Big Search? Tell us more, "Rocky"!

          "You assert a way to be successful on teh internets without a host"

          I would like a citation, this should be interesting reading.

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

        • identicon
          Rocky, 16 Mar 2021 @ 1:44pm

          Re: No need for host or Big Search? Tell us more, "Rocky"!

          You assert a way to be successful on teh internets without a host -- that can withdraw service any time doesn't like your opinions -- and getting noticed without Search Engine Optimization shenanigans that millions of businesses resort to?

          What opinions would that be? I've never been blocked on the services I use, but that's because I don't behave like a raging asshole.

          Clearly you have highly valuable knowledge. Just an outline of your method will be enough to at last fulfill Techdirt's claims of practical way by which individuals can take advantage of the new opportunities.

          So please elucidate in all the detail you can. Indeed, submit a long piece to Maz, 'cause if even a tenth of what you casually claim is true, YOU will be famous!

          It's very simple, don't be an asshole. Reprobates with a persecution-complex like you don't understand this though.

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

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 17 Mar 2021 @ 12:20am

            Re: Re: No need for host or Big Search? Tell us more, "Rocky"!

            "What opinions would that be? I've never been blocked on the services I use, but that's because I don't behave like a raging asshole."

            Same, which is why I always dig deeper into their claims. It's 100% always the case that when you look into the actual stories then no matter what the subject was, they're loudmouthed assholes who might have been able to get away with what they did if they weren't being such dicks about it.

            I'm yet to see a single example of "person calmly detailing a conservative viewpoint gets banned", it's always "obnoxious loudmouth shocked that the people he deliberately tried to offend got offended". Anyone who can provide an example to the contrary, I'm always open to suggestion, but they have to be supplied with specifics so that I can read the real story.

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

            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 18 Mar 2021 @ 2:00am

              Re: Re: Re: No need for host or Big Search? Tell us more, "Rocky

              "Anyone who can provide an example to the contrary, I'm always open to suggestion, but they have to be supplied with specifics so that I can read the real story."

              I think the issue may be on your definition of "reasonable". An alt-rightist often honestly believes that his calm assertions around the merits of the lesser races and their natural state as plantation workers with reduced personal agency is a reasonable assertion and shocked when he finds other people disagree with him on this.

              Same with Baghdad Bob who appears to truly believe that dropping his pants and flapping his sphincter randomly at people is rational discourse.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 Mar 2021 @ 6:08pm

          Re: No need for host or Big Search? Tell us more, "Rocky"!

          To become famous.

          Step 1) Create something people want.
          Step 2) Give it away.
          Step 3) Treat users and potential collaborators in a reasonable fashion.

          Do that right and you to can be paid to do what interests you Like Linus.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Mar 2021 @ 9:00pm

    And when these multi-merged entities feel like they can't produce all the titles which the individual companies used to create because reasons...

    ——
    also, Windows ≠ PC, so can we please stop doing that?

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 15 Mar 2021 @ 11:19pm

      Re:

      "Windows ≠ PC, so can we please stop doing that?"

      That's a battle many of us have been fighting for a couple of decades, and sadly it's not likely to stop. You're certainly not going to get Microsoft to change their naming conventions any time soon.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Mar 2021 @ 8:30pm

        Re: Re:

        No, certainly MS won't, no argument there. They've aleays wanted to be confused with an actual hardware manufacturer.

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

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 17 Mar 2021 @ 12:21am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Like them or not, Microsoft are a long-standing manufacturer of hardware. They don't own the PC hardware format, but they are certainly a hardware manufacturer.

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

  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 15 Mar 2021 @ 11:27pm

    "If the ability to distribute titles suddenly ends up primarily in the hands of a small number of corporate entities, we could see huge steps backwards in a return towards exclusive games, exclusive hardware, and the like"

    I find it funny that these fears are being voiced about a new Microsoft deal, given that one of the major remaining criticisms about them after they recovered their disastrous launch last gen was that they didn't have enough exclusives to encourage players to buy their console. They recovered a huge amount of sales and good will through things like backward compatibility, Game Pass and removing the Kinect / always on bullshit that drove the nail in to the launch, but Sony and Nintendo grabbed a lot of sales because those companies had a lot of exclusives, and that's something that's not changing this gen.

    There's definitely criticisms to be had about the messaging, but I'd reserve judgement until we see which titles they're saying are going to be exclusives. If they announce they're making new Elder Scrolls games that will be locked down permanently, then some of the criticism will be perfectly valid. But, if they're retooling to work on new IPs and just don't want to make an announcement about that, then it's no more of a problem than XBox players not being able to get The Last Of Us, Spiderman or Uncharted.

    It would be nice for everything to go cross-platform but default, but Microsoft making purchasing decisions to enable them to catch up in an area the marketplace told them they were lacking is not the worst news on the subject.

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

    • icon
      crade (profile), 16 Mar 2021 @ 6:13am

      Re:

      My realistic concerns are low, of course the biggest companies will consolidate.. as long as they don't consolidate all into less than 2 it's no big deal.. Barrier to entry for new players is very low and the big companies won't buy up new companies until at least after they make their first great game. It's not like they are going to try to buy anyone who "might" be the next minecraft or super meat boy or (on and on).

      So sure I've got my amico on order, but I'm not worried about microsoft buying bethesda leading to a lack of competition in video games

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

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 17 Mar 2021 @ 12:32am

        Re: Re:

        The real question is how you separate the hardware and the release channels. The XBox is basically a specialised PC and MS are committed to making sure that games cross platforms in both directions. There's no danger of indie developers losing release channels because MS consolidate a major publisher or make some AAA title in the future an XBox exclusive. The only question to whether or not platform lock-in between the 2 major consoles becomes problematic for gamers who prefer those non-indie titles.

        I'd also say that there's little danger of there being less than 3 major consoles unless one of the players make a horrendously bad move that kills their platform (as XBox came close to doing with their disastrous XBox One launch, from which they have thankfully mostly recovered). Nintendo are often not in the same race as their other 2 competitors, and the last time a major manufacturer was killed off was SEGA - and they were killed as much by the innovative upstart of the PlayStation as they were by their own missteps. I suspect that the current major console lines will continue into the future, until such time as a new competitor manages to whisk sales sufficiently away from one of the big players for them to give up. Whether that's even possible today with the marketshare being so heavily tied into monstrously expensive AAA development and large established online ecosystems remains to be seen.

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

        • icon
          crade (profile), 17 Mar 2021 @ 6:27am

          Re: Re: Re:

          To me Playstation and xbox are pretend consoles, just PCs with special DRM locks to keep them from running a regular OS. Nintendo is legitimately a different machine, but nintendo does little but hoard old ideas that they inherited from innovative 80s Nintendo. "Release channels" are really just locked systems that no one can make a game on without them taking a big cut, being propped up by bad I.P. laws keeping us from doing better. I agree I see them going nowhere, unfortunately

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

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 17 Mar 2021 @ 6:41am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "To me Playstation and xbox are pretend consoles, just PCs with special DRM locks to keep them from running a regular OS"

            That's really all that consoles ever have been - specialised OS and hardware that act as locked down computers. There's been a move in recent years to move away from totally reinventing the wheel (see PS3's ambitious but very confusing Cell architecture) toward relatively stock components. But, if you want a PC buy a PC. The entire point of a console is that you can run the same games on any machine of the same model type without having to customise like you would with a PC.

            The trade-off is that you can't customise like you would a PC which is good for everyone. People who prefer to play on consoles don't have to worry as much about cheaters and upgrade cycles as PC players, and that's what they pay for, which should not be interrupted by some dick who decides to ruin everyone else's fun because he wants to get cheap PC hardware.

            "Nintendo is legitimately a different machine"

            Their form factors are different, because they're not designed to be purely a device with standard controllers, and they use their own in-house software rather than a modified Windows version like the XBox, but the same thing applies - it's specialised hardware that's locked down for purpose, and if you want a PC you're better off buying a PC.

            "nintendo does little but hoard old ideas that they inherited from innovative 80s Nintendo"

            I assume you're just talking about the franchise names they develop consistently? because outside of the titles it's laughable to assert they haven't innovated since then.

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

            • icon
              crade (profile), 17 Mar 2021 @ 7:46am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Consoles were originally custom hardware made just to play games that were completely different from each other

              If a game was exclusive, it's because no one spent a ton of effort to rewrite the whole game for that consoles architecture, not because they had to add in a software lock to keep it from running somewhere else. It's not like the NES had to put in locks to keep it from running DOS
              It's totally fair to make them all use the same general purpose hardware architecture so they don't have to reinvent the wheel, but then they are all using the same general purpose hardware, and the different O.S. combined with putting in software locks so they can pretend other software won't run on them is not an enticing reason for me.

              As for Nintendo, yes, I'm talking about the games. Nintendo has done lots on the hardware side, I was impressed with Wii which actually enticed me to buy .. But I was pretty disappointed afterward.. I bought it for wii sports but kinda just ended up with an endless string of super mario world and zelda oct rehashes. I haven't seen much to change my mind since, but to be fair they kindof dropped of my radar since then

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

              • icon
                Samuel Abram (profile), 17 Mar 2021 @ 10:49am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                It's not like the NES had to put in locks to keep it from running DOS

                You're kidding, right? I'm sorry if I'm reading you wrong, but the NES did indeed have lockout such as copy protection called 10NES and regional lockout (hence why Famicom games are different than NES games). When Atari Games under the name Tengen bypassed the 10NES lockout and created their own cartridges, Nintendo sued them.

                So yeah, Nintendo then was arguably in many ways worse than what they are now.

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

                • icon
                  crade (profile), 17 Mar 2021 @ 11:40am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Yeah, I think you are reading it wrong. The NES had some (incredibly easy to circumvent) copy protection, It also (rightfully) had no legal protection, so third parties just circumvented it.

                  But it was to try to prevent third party's to write games specifically to run on the nes, it's not like the pc, sega and nes were all the same system in a different wrapper with some drm keeping them from running each other's games like the xbox, pc and playstation are today.

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

                  • icon
                    Samuel Abram (profile), 17 Mar 2021 @ 11:51am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Okay, I'm sorry to have read you wrong; it's just that IBM, Apple, Nintendo, Commodore, Sega, et al. were in a wild west as far as hardware is concerned and now there's more standardization, so we don't see as much variation. While Standardization means more cross-platform compatibility, it can also mean less individuality for certain consoles. That's why Nintendo since the Wii and DS needs some sort of gimmick to sell their systems; IMHO, the Switch is compatible with so many control schemes that IMHO it's their best yet!

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

                  • icon
                    PaulT (profile), 18 Mar 2021 @ 12:22am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    "It also (rightfully) had no legal protection, so third parties just circumvented it."

                    That wasn't because that generation was better or that those protections weren't demanded, it was because piracy rates were relatively low due to the cost of manufacturing cartridges and the DMCA didn't exist yet.

                    "it's not like the pc, sega and nes were all the same system in a different wrapper"

                    The fact that one of those companies no longer manufactures consoles after 2 of its innovative attempts at new hardware flopped should clue you in to why that's not an attractive option when so much mature, well tested and well supported hardware is readily available.

                    The real question is - why do you care so much about what's happening under the hood? It might be frustrating that you can't buy one console and play everything, but in order to run a PS5 game on an XBox it also wouldn't be as simple as removing DRM, and there's no way that allowing consoles to act as general purpose PCs wouldn't end in disaster for the entire ecosystem - for reasons that have made consoles so popular compared to PC gaming.

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

                    • icon
                      crade (profile), 18 Mar 2021 @ 6:42am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      Ok.. So let me try to get to the reason I care what happens under the hood.

                      "it was because piracy rates were relatively low"
                      But thats the trouble. None of this DRM has anything to do with piracy. These protect against competitors making games not against any sort of copyright infringement.

                      "and the DMCA didn't exist yet" Exactly. The legal right to prevent competitors from integrating with your protect hadn't even been conceived yet. I think this concept of the right to prevent integration is unique to the digital world. It's nothing but lobby fodder in my opinion

                      The locks on the nes that were not legally protected as well as the ones they use today that are legally protected are not to prevent copying anything nintendo owned, they were to prevent competitors from being able to write their own games for the nes, just as today they are preventing competitors from creating competing systems to run the games or competing games to run on the systems.

                      It was legally recognized at the time that Nintendo had no special right to do that. It was new for digital things and video games maybe, but not a new concept in general.

                      Almost all of what defines consoles today, in my view has devolved to depend on this right to prevent competition created by the dmca. Thats why I don't like what happens under the hood. I feel like todays consoles are a grift created by the DMCA and companies should not have the right to lock out competitors in this way. I have the same beef about iphones actually.

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

                      • icon
                        PaulT (profile), 18 Mar 2021 @ 7:03am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        "they were to prevent competitors from being able to write their own games for the nes"

                        Nobody's preventing other companies from writing software for these systems. They just have to go through an approval process, which is unrelated to DRM. Unless you want to pretend that allowing games to run unrestricted on these platforms would not cause problems for anyone, which is deluded at best. You want an open platform? Buy a PC. You want the advantages of the console ecosystem? Buy a console. It's not hard. Especially with the issue at hand, where Microsoft are not going to stop anyone releasing games on the PC no matter what they choose with console exclusivity for the next Bethesda title.

                        "Almost all of what defines consoles today, in my view has devolved to depend on this right to prevent competition created by the dmca"

                        Exactly - in your view. You're ignoring the many things which differentiate the consoles, ranging from the OS difference, online ecosystems, achievement systems, various inbuilt facilities and optimisations that define each console - not to mention the many hardware differences - in order to pretend that each game would play with no problems on the other hardware so long as there wasn't DRM. Whereas in reality, it's a much more complicated subject.

                        "I feel like todays consoles are a grift created by the DMCA"

                        You're welcome to your objectively wrong beliefs, but the situation is a lot more complex than you imagine.

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

                        • icon
                          crade (profile), 18 Mar 2021 @ 7:35am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          Yes, they are legally prevented from writing and selling their own software for the systems. They may be able to get an agreement with the system vendor to "allow" them to integrate with the product.. basically by paying them whatever the vendor wants as they have 100% control. The assumption is that the vendor should have the right to control all integration, and if the product actually creates any competition in a way the vendor doesn't like, it will be illegal.

                          I'm not ignoring the O.S. it is very important that it's illegal to create competing O.S.es. It's very important that it's illegal to create competing online ecosystems and achievement systems for the consoles, online stores, etc. All of that competing software being illegal is bogus to me.

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

                          • icon
                            PaulT (profile), 18 Mar 2021 @ 8:10am

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            I'm really not sure of the issue here, but as we seem to be jumping from hardware to software to OS and back, I'm not sure what value there is here.

                            The bottom line is: these are not PCs, they are specialised gaming hardware. The level of different between than and a general purpose PC might be less than it used to be, but those differences still exist, and in some cases are fundamental to the reason people buy them. If you want a PC, but a PC. You can run DOOM on a fridge as well, but you shouldn't expect the manufacturer to make it easy to install the ROM.

                            " It's very important that it's illegal to create competing online ecosystems and achievement systems for the consoles, online stores, etc."

                            I'm not even sure of what the point is here. People can already create those things - on the PC, Mac, Linux or any other general purpose PC hardware. Nobody's stopping those.

                            If what you're saying is that people should just be able to buy an XBox or PS5, reformat it off the shelf and run your own OS on there, well given that those manufacturers heavily subsidise the price of the console that they expect to recoup through game and services sales, it's no surprise why they wouldn't want you to do that. You have many other options available to you if this is not acceptable.

                            If on the other hand you're talking about game exclusives, there's reasons other than game DRM why this isn't as easy as you seem to have brought yourself to believe.

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

                            • icon
                              crade (profile), 18 Mar 2021 @ 12:43pm

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                              Yes, luckily there is still software competition currently allowed with some other hardware like PCs, but that doesn't excuse it being illegal to make it for consoles. Probably the only reason everything isn't in the same locked down boat is because the dmca wasn't around when PCs started and they haven't figured out how to get the genie back in the bottle.

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

                              • icon
                                PaulT (profile), 19 Mar 2021 @ 12:49am

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                "Probably the only reason everything isn't in the same locked down boat is because the dmca wasn't around when PCs started and they haven't figured out how to get the genie back in the bottle."

                                What's amusing to me here is that you kind of have a point, but it's completely misdirected. The bottom line is that these are not PCs, even though they share a lot of fundamental underlying infrastructure with them. They are not sold as general purpose computing devices, they are not replacing general purpose computing devices. No matter what Microsoft choose here, no PC developer or manufacturer will be directly affected by any decision they make.

                                While it's true that if the DMCA had been in place then the reverse engineering of the BIOS that drove early PCs would not have been possible, that's not relevant here. Nobody is trying to take away your PC. In fact, you have more choice of PC-like devices to work on than ever before, be they tablets, Raspberry Pi-like hobbyist devices or self builds. Why do you feel threatened when non-PC devices are locked down just because they share some basic chipsets - device that you admit have always been locked down, the chipset being the only thing that's changed significantly in any way relevant?

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

              • icon
                Samuel Abram (profile), 17 Mar 2021 @ 10:55am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Also, as far as games are concerned, Breath of the Wild has gotten me into Zelda games for the first time since Twilight Princess after that game and Wind Waker turned me off from Zelda. Now I want more, more, more!

                As for new franchises, check out Splatoon. Also, the Mario Maker series isn't just the Kaizo Maker (though it sucks that Nintendo hates us by getting rid of it); Nintendo added some of their own twists to them with slopes, Airship levels in Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario World, etc. Check it out!

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

              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 18 Mar 2021 @ 12:17am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "Consoles were originally custom hardware made just to play games that were completely different from each other"

                Yes, and they also used to take cartridges and often didn't have a save system. So?

                "If a game was exclusive, it's because no one spent a ton of effort to rewrite the whole game for that consoles architecture, not because they had to add in a software lock to keep it from running somewhere else."

                So what? The restrictions are now more artificial than they used to be but that doesn't magically stop consoles from being specialised gaming hardware.

                "It's not like the NES had to put in locks to keep it from running DOS"

                No, because nobody was trying to do so at the time, and custom OS installations didn't put an online ecosystem at risk. You might as well be arguing that region codes weren't needed in VHS so BluRays that use them aren't really movie playback hardware. You have a point about artificial restrictions, but your conclusion is way off.

                "then they are all using the same general purpose hardware"

                No, each console has very specific customisations and differences that make them specialised gaming hardware despite sharing the same fundamental architecture. I'm not even sure what the problem is - if your aim is to stop them relying on exclusives, the first logical step toward that is to make is as easy (and therefore cheap) to port titles rather than needing everyone to rewrite each game from the ground up.

                "I was impressed with Wii which actually enticed me to buy .. But I was pretty disappointed afterward"

                The Wii suffered greatly from having nearly zero 3rd party support in its early days, followed by a rash of half-assed shovelware and terrible ports as those 3rd parties scrambled to get a piece of the action,Nintendo were ahead of the game, but many competitors never quite got the hang of designing something with motion controls from the ground up, preferring instead to bolt them on to a port of a PS2 title that never felt like they belonged. Nintendo fell back on its core franchises as it usually does, but if you're going to claim that Super Mario Galaxy was not innovative just because it has the same central characters as previous Mario games I'm not sure what to tell you.

                But, I can name 20 top quality games from that Wii generation, only a few of which are within the core franchises, and to claim that Nintendo itself weren't innovating within those franchises just because they were part of them is somewhat disingenuous.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Mar 2021 @ 8:32pm

      Re:

      Microsoft buying anything is strictly non-good for anyone but Microsoft (maybe), but whatever.

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

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 17 Mar 2021 @ 12:32am

        Re: Re:

        ...and Sony's acquisitions aren't usually any good for anyone but Sony. So?

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

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 18 Mar 2021 @ 2:07am

        Re: Re:

        "Microsoft buying anything is strictly non-good for anyone but Microsoft (maybe), but whatever."

        A somewhat less true statement today than in times of recent past...these days I actually credit Microsoft with not deliberately screwing me with their updates.

        When they came out with changing their tune around open unlawful copies and later on, open source, I actually became cautiously optimistic about that company's ability to not remain utterly tonedeaf regarding the wishes of their customers.

        The real issue in the OP isn't a very big one. I'm concerned they aren't issuing a port for Linux or OSX but that consoles - the lock-in mechanisms of individual corporations - are excluded is not really an issue of principles, honestly.

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

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 16 Mar 2021 @ 12:21am

    "With that consolidation comes a lot of control over distribution of titles and franchises"

    Amazon
    Music Industry
    Movie Industry
    Streaming

    Consolidation and fragmentation providing corporate profits, and a much worse consumer experience.

    Imagine a single platform they all use, no more coding 5 different version of varying quality.

    Studios actually making ship dates with working product day 1.

    No more pouring huge amounts into developing a platform that might gain 3 fps over your competitor, just making the best single platform to showcase the games, where the development should be fierce to attract users.

    But they are going to imagine that people are willing to spend hundreds to get a console for 1 maybe 2 games... that might work right... in 6 months.

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

  • icon
    TKnarr (profile), 16 Mar 2021 @ 12:56am

    This is Microsoft we're talking about here. Anyone who thought that they wouldn't be making as many games exclusive to their platforms as possible hasn't been paying attention for the last 3 decades.

    And no, that isn't exclusive to Microsoft, just they're one of the biggest and most visible in the games field.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 16 Mar 2021 @ 1:17am

      Re:

      "Anyone who thought that they wouldn't be making as many games exclusive to their platforms as possible hasn't been paying attention for the last 3 decades."

      As I mentioned above, the problem is that Microsoft have been consistently attacked over the last gen for not having big name first party exclusives. They pretty much only had Halo and Forza, and one reason a lot of people gave for choosing Sony instead of them was the fact that PlayStation had a lot more exclusives.

      It's a shame that they might be choosing this direction, but if the market is speaking and it says "we go to the console with the most exclusives", then them making a non-committed hint that they might choose to go that direction with some as-yet unnamed title after buying one of the world's most prominent publishers is hardly surprising.

      Hopefully things will change direction, and maybe that's why they're being so coy right out of the gate - perhaps they'd rather concentrate on selling everyone Game Pass, xCloud and bolstering the PC gaming side of things than fight an arms race that locks them out of the larger market that would come with doing that then offering PS5 gamers a chance to give them money as well. But, if the market is going towards "I'm buying PS5 because Miles Morales is only available there", then they have to play that game too.

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

  • icon
    crade (profile), 16 Mar 2021 @ 6:01am

    I just want bioware back.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Mar 2021 @ 8:38am

    Yes, let's whine about Microsoft having exclusives. Of course it's perfectly fine if Sony locks Last of Us, God of War, etc. to Playstation, but its a horrible thing if Microsoft gets exclusives. Lets be fair, Microsoft has been all about multi platform, but their console competitors can't be bothered, so complain to Nintendo and Sony if you lose access to a game you like.

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

    • icon
      Samuel Abram (profile), 16 Mar 2021 @ 10:54am

      Re:

      I was thinking the same thing.

      That being said, Sony has eased up on some of their exclusives to PC, such as Death Stranding and Horizon: Zero Dawn. Considering Nintendo's gimmicky features on their consoles since the DS and Wii, porting some of their games (such as Fitness Boxing or The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword) to PC or other consoles would be harder.

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

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 16 Mar 2021 @ 11:11am

        Re: Re:

        Nintendo have built their entire business on exclusives, they just got so good at making good games that people keep returning. I can understand Sony being reticent about porting things to XBox, but some 3rd party publishers have been pretty good recently about porting to XBox (for instance, former PS console exclusives like Nier: Automata and No Man's Sky are now on Game Pass.)

        The real questions are which games are MS going to make exclusive and what the actual barriers are to them sharing with Sony, but we don't have that information yet. So far, it seems that people are scared that the next Elder Scrolls or Fallout games will be XBox only, but that's not clear yet, and if it's a new IP then they're only doing what Sony has been doing for an entire generation. Not great for the consumer, but nothing revolutionary.

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

        • icon
          Samuel Abram (profile), 16 Mar 2021 @ 4:31pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Nintendo have built their entire business on exclusives, they just got so good at making good games that people keep returning.

          I do think a system like the Switch is just such a great concept and execution that I would have bought one even without Nintendo's exclusives; Nintendo's exclusives are just the icing on the cake for me.

          Besides, if Nintendo's exclusives were the key to a system selling, then the Virtual Boy and Wii U would have been successes, but both were disasters.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Mar 2021 @ 8:35pm

      Re:

      You can blow out the tu quoque defense, none of them are good. Happy?

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


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