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Xbox and Bethesda – a new nexus in the exclusivity wars?

Phil Spencer: Depends how I am feeling

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The news of Microsoft’s monumental acquisition of Bethesda spurred much debate o’er the interweb. There were calls for Sony to make a similar acquisition to free up the stagnant IP over at Konami. And there was praise that this could end the exclusivity wars. Others were very pessimistic that the power move would only exasperate it.

Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox, decided to clear the air for fans to let them know, well, they are likely shooting down the middle. To the question of whether Bethesda games in the future would be Xbox exclusives, Phil Spencer claimed the decision of exclusivity would be made on a “case-by-case basis”.

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Now many can interpret this in different way. An obvious translation would be the more iconic, reknowned titles that draw the big crowd would be made Xbox exclusives. The fodder and less iconic titles would be made for other systems. Another interpretation may optimistically put Xbox in a position to open up the market and deal a blow to the exclusivity model and enhance gamer experience. Or it could end up being down the middle; games are built for both systems, with more Xbox exclusive features that dwarf the Playstation/PC versions to ultimate be used as a fulcrum to drive sales of the Series X and S.

Nevertheless, fans of Bethesda titles should be prepared for what is coming, as the future of a Bethesda game like Fallout may very well become an exclusive Xbox game title. Potentially many of Bethesda’s higher-ranking titles. And at the risk of sounding like a flower child, can we all just get along?

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