Bethesda just released Starfield, its first new IP in over 25 years exclusively on Xbox consoles and PC. After Xbox head Phil Spencer said a couple of years ago that future Bethesda games would be released on other consoles “on a case-by-case basis,” Bethesda fans have been wondering if the upcoming The Elder Scrolls VI, which was announced before Microsoft acquired Bethesda, would be released on PlayStation consoles.
Well, according to a new court document from the FTC v. Microsoft trial (via The Verge), The Elder Scrolls VI will once again be an Xbox/PC exclusive game. The Microsoft document also indicates that the game could be released in 2026 at the earliest.
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The document includes a reference to a previous interview of Phil Spencer with GQ, where the Xbox exec hinted that The Elder Scrolls VI could be exclusive to the Xbox ecosystem. “In order to be on Xbox, I want us to be able to bring the full complete package of what we have. And that would be true when I think about Elder Scrolls VI,” Spencer said in that interview from November 2021.
Of course, a lot of things could change while The Elder Scrolls VI is still in development. But so far, it seems that Starfield being an Xbox/PC exclusive game did help to make the Xbox ecosystem more desirable.
According to data from GSD (via Gameindustry.biz), Starfield is the fifth fastest-selling game of the year behind Hogwarts Legacy, Diablo 4, Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, and Star Wars Jedi: Survivor. This is a very good performance for a brand-new IP that’s not available on PlayStation 5, which is the leading current-gen console.
While you could argue that Microsoft owes PlayStation players to release The Elder Scrolls VI on their platform because previous episodes did ship on PlayStation, Microsoft knows that exclusive games are part of the competition. Exclusives also help to sell consoles, and this is something that Sony and Nintendo both know very well.
Bethesda games usually enjoy enduring popularity due to their open-world nature and a great modding community. The Elder Scrolls VI and Starfield should be no exception, and the latter actually has around 1,000 planets to explore, even though the majority of them are procedurally generated. While Bethesda is slow to release new games (The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was released back in 2011), Microsoft did acquire great talent and some very valuable IPs.