Although Phill Spenser, head of Xbox, has publicly mentioned that he does not agree that this war of exclusive titles should exist, and that users should have the freedom to play where we want, many people still think that studio purchases ( at least on the part of Xbox) are to have more exclusive and face PlayStation, but it is not. But, if people think this way, it is because this was the war that was fought in the current generation for many years, and it will be the strategy that Sony will continue for the next generation.
The purchase of Bethesda Softworks by Xbox is again a warning of what Microsoft is planning for the next generation and for the next few years in the market, they are not going to fight to make all Microsoft Studios games exclusive, but their only goal is to do more big and attractive to Xbox Game Pass.
Xbox exclusives are over
If we think in detail about the last years of Xbox we can realize that basically there are no longer exclusives for the console, because since the launch of Game Pass, Microsoft has been responsible for launching all its titles also for PC, and Now that Projec xCloud exists, these titles will also be available on Android, so we cannot speak of an Xbox exclusivity as we don’t need a console to play them.
Xbox is no longer interested in having their games on Xbox because they don’t want to “live” by selling consoles, they want to live off services, and Game Pass is their strongest card, so the most important thing at this time is not to bring games to Xbox that can only be played there, is to bring new and exciting games to Game Pass that can be played on PC, Android, Xbox and soon iOS.
If we look back we are going to realize that Microsoft has put Minecraft (the best-selling game in history) on all consoles and platforms, and part of that is the reason why it has become the best-selling game in all history, another example is Ori and the Will of the Wisps, which just released on Nintendo Switch. With Bethesda, Microsoft will probably do something very similar, so if you’re a PlayStation user you should stop worrying about future Bethesda Softworks titles.
Bethesda arrives to strengthen Game Pass
Xbox has mentioned that it will respect the two exclusives already agreed by Bethesda and PlayStation for the PS5, and made it clear that the issue of exclusivities will be reviewed game by game in the future, but the only thing we can take for granted is that it will not return. There will be Bethesda exclusive games for PlayStation or Nintendo, but neither for Xbox, and the only “exclusives” will actually be from Game Pass, although it was already clear that they are not exclusive as such because they can be played on multiple devices.
That doesn’t mean that future Bethesda games aren’t going to be released on PS5 or Nintendo Switch either, and the clearest case is the one I mentioned earlier with Minecraft and Ori. It is true that I am speculating here, but due to Spenser’s words, it is very likely that the most popular Bethesda franchises such as Quake, DOOM, The Elder Scrolls or Wolfenstein will go on sale on the Sony platform, while on Game Pass will be available from day 1.
Xbox will continue to make money from the sale of these games, while it will continue to strengthen Game Pass, making it much more attractive for users to subscribe to the service than to be paying for each of the titles separately.
Game Pass already has 15 million users, and some industry experts like Jason Schreir de Kotaku mentions that with Xbox’s strategy of strengthening Game Pass with the purchase of Bethesda or with the agreement with Electronics Arts to add EA Play to Game Pass, then Microsoft’s subscription service could quadruple its subscribers in the near future.
Xbox is not interested in being the brand that sells the most consoles, it is not interested in being the one that sells the most physical or digital games, it is interested in people betting on Game Pass, regardless of whether they are users who have been playing Xbox year after year , or if they play on PC, if they have a PlayStation or if they only play from their phone, Xbox is interested in taking its ecosystem beyond a console, and although many are still determined to make this a war between PlayStation and Xbox, reality is that this is not about consoles, it is about the future of cloud and multiplatform gaming, and there it seems that nobody will be able to face Xbox in the coming years.