In Bethesda’s E3 press event, a new teaser trailer came to the Starfield. It was a cinematic affair without any actual gameplay footage. The video was created via the game’s alpha build. During the event, it was confirmed that Starfield will be an Xbox exclusive and it caused a conflicted deal. However, for Starfield’s Xbox exclusivity, Bethesda executive Pete Hines apologized to PS5 players
Starfield’s Xbox exclusivity is above board. Since buying Zenimax for $7.5 billion last September, we learned Microsoft would get anything that Bethesda had not already nailed down in an exclusivity deal, including Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VI. However, not all of Bethesda’s heads think the same about Starfield being exclusive to Xbox.
In a post E3 interview with GameSpot, Bethesda’s Senior Vice President of Global Marketing and Communications Pete Hines apologized to PS5 owners for the studio’s move away from its historically platform-agnostic development.
“I don’t know how to allay the concerns of PlayStation 5 fans other than to say, well, I’m a PlayStation 5 player as well, and I’ve played games on that console, and there’s [sic] games I’m gonna continue to play on it. All I can say is, ‘I apologize,’ because I’m certain that that’s frustrating to folks, but there’s not a whole lot I can do about it,” Hines said.
During E3 2018, when Bethesda revealed Starfield and TESVI, Todd Howard did an excellent job of exciting PlayStation and Xbox fans alike without spitting out a lot. Including Howard and the rest of Bethesda, everyone just assumed the games would launch on both platforms, but that was when Microsoft/Zenimax merger did not happen.
That said, Howard was unapologetic regarding Starfield’s Xbox exclusivity. A few days ago, Howard told The Telegraph that he felt making Starfield exclusive to Xbox (and by extension, PC) was in the favor of the game.
“You don’t ever want to leave people out, right?” Howard said but then went on to add that that is precisely what they are doing, and he’s happy for it. “At the end of the day, your ability to focus and say, this is the game I want to make, these are the platforms I want to make it on, and being able to lean [into] those is going to make for a better product.”
Moreover, he continues to paradoxically explain that excluding a whole demographic of Bethesda’s former fanbase somehow gets its games to more players.
“We’re big believers in all of the avenues that Xbox and Microsoft are doing to get games to more people,” He explained. “Whether that’s the integration with the PC, which is huge for us, the cloud streaming and all those things. So I think it’s about taking a long-term view.”
He claims that because of “GamePass and other things,” the capability of players to play Bethesda games do not decline but “goes up dramatically.” Really?
Perhaps that is a fact when only considering Xbox players, however, not in general. Previously, the studio was producing on all platforms, so the ability to get more games to more players did not go up when Microsoft told Bethesda, “No more PlayStation development.”
Of course, it was the best move for Microsoft. Xbox has long missed console-selling exclusives. Xbox will take advantage of Bethesda exclusivity tremendously. Many people, when supply reaches normal levels, will buy an Xbox Series X or S, their decision will be solely based on the fact that PlayStation is not getting Starfield or any other future Bethesda title.
Now question is that will Bethesda as an individual production house get any advantage? Even early on in this current console war, PlayStation has a lead in console sales. When one considers the number of total units sold with past Bethesda games across all platforms, it is found that its position is not as profitable as a pure number under the Microsoft umbrella. However, that’s part of the deal, and as Hines said, “There’s not a whole lot [Bethesda] can do about it.”