Bethesda may be using their limited time as an independent company to get their affairs in order before the Xbox buyout – and that could mean catering for PS5 owners.
The ZeniMax / Bethesda buyout by Microsoft is one of the most game-changing acquisitions in history – and we mean that literally.
Bethesda is a vast publishing enterprise with various triple-A developers under their bonnet. Therefore, the acquisition of them (or, more accurately, their parent company ZeniMax) by Microsoft could change the landscape of the industry forever.
During the original and Xbox 360 eras, Microsoft was considered the home of the Western RPG. Bethesda’s games like the Elder Scrolls, Fallout, and even third-party games like Mass Effect helped the console achieve this status.
However, this crown slipped during the Xbox One’s tenure. Sony, their main competitor, steadily matched Xbox in this department with their PS4 console, causing the Xbox brand to lose this aspect of its identity.
The Xbox One also suffered from a chronic lack of first-party exclusives, all while Sony continued to churn out the hits. Microsoft understands both of these facts deeply and is determined not to repeat either mistake with the Xbox Series X/S.
The purchase of Bethesda restores this balance and will help Microsoft re-establish their Xbox brand as the home of the Western RPG. But this is where things get uncertain.
Will the Microsoft Purchase Mean No More Bethesda Games on PS5?
Microsoft has undoubtedly purchased Bethesda to make some of its franchises Xbox exclusives going forward. This could include their most prominent RPG franchises like Fallout and The Elder Scrolls series.
It could also include action franchises like Doom, Wolfenstein, Prey, Dishonored, and Rage. But TES and Fallout series are the jewels in Bethesda’s crown.
Phil Spencer assured fans that not every franchise would become an Xbox exclusive. But it’s unrealistic to expect none of them will.
Therefore, we’d guess that Microsoft is hoping to turn at least one of these RPG franchises into an Xbox exclusive at some point in the future. Although we think they’d struggle to do this to both Fallout and The Elder Scrolls.
This is because doing so could potentially harm sales. It risks halving them, something that will be highly detrimental to Bethesda’s bottom line. But on the other hand, it could encourage more people to buy Xbox consoles.
Predicting Microsoft’s Bethesda Strategy When It Comes to PS5 Releases
The safer gamble would be to convert one franchise to an Xbox exclusive. Taking the inevitable hit when it comes to sales, but then making up for this with increased console sales.
Yet to keep the studio profitable, Microsoft would need to allow Bethesda to release the other big franchise on both Sony and Xbox consoles. This way, at least one franchise enjoys the usual lifetime sales associated with a big Bethesda RPG.
As the Elder Scrolls 6 already exists and was likely quite far into its development cycle before Microsoft's acquisition. We feel it’s highly unlikely that TE6 will be an Xbox exclusive, regardless of how long it takes the game to finally arrive.
Although, new information suggests Microsoft and Bethesda could reveal the game at an event this month. As well as clarify their intentions for Bethesda games going forward.
However, with Fallout 5 nothing more than an idea at this stage, we wouldn’t be surprised if that did become an Xbox Series X exclusive. With Microsoft soon to be the official owners of the Fallout franchise, this would make sense.
Microsoft could also make the upcoming Bethesda sci-fi game Starfield an Xbox exclusive. They may try to turn Starfield into the next Mass Effect, a series that was synonymous with the Xbox 360 when it first arrived.
Industry Insider Weighs in On Bethesda Games Coming to PS5
Industry insider Nibel (who’s often a very reliable source of information) recently tweeted something very interesting. Nibel said that “Bethesda putting games on PlayStation before the MS deal closes.”
This suggests that Bethesda may be doing everything in its power to ensure PlayStation owners are catered for. At least before the buyout becomes a reality, which it will, in time.
While we don’t think this means Bethesda is rushing games onto the PS5 or anything like that. We believe it has more to do with them signing deals with Sony for specific games before the Microsoft hammer falls.
Bethesda’s representatives have been positive about the acquisition in the past. But their actions now seem reflective of a company possibly panicking about something – if Nibel is to be believed.
We don't know exactly what Bethesda is doing behind the scenes. It most likely has to do with enabling short-term sales of existing games. So don't expect them to do anything too drastic.
Microsoft has said they are willing to honor any arrangements Bethesda has with Sony (or Nintendo). Therefore, we fully expect to see Bethesda games continue to come out on PS5 once the acquisition is complete.
But remember, Microsoft bought Bethesda for a reason. We’d be naïve to believe some of our favorite RPG franchises won’t become Xbox exclusives. Even if it takes a long time to happen.
In other Microsoft news, Xbox is planning HD streaming for their Cloud Gaming service too. This should upscale Xbox Series X games when played on other devices.
But they are also using their new FPS boost technology to update older games on Xbox Series X. Upscaled games can be found on the Xbox Store with these new filters.
And, just like the Bethesda acquisition, it looks like Microsoft is planning its next major buyout already!