Phil Spencer thinks Xbox can recoup $7.5 billion Bethesda deal with software exclusives

There’s a good chance you won’t be playing Elder Scrolls 6 on PlayStation 5.

Xbox has been making big moves lately. The console manufacturer has been scooping up studios, bolstering its in-house game development teams. Its latest acquisition of ZeniMax, the parent company of Bethesda, has led to a lot of questions in the industry. Will Xbox be releasing Bethesda titles on competitors’ consoles and is it feasible to even recoup the massive price tag attached to the purchase?

In a recent interview with Stephen Totilo of Kotaku, Head of Xbox’s Phil Spencer revealed that he believes Xbox can recoup the cost of the $7.5 billion acquisition without releasing Bethesda games on PlayStation.

Bethesda’s titles are coming to Xbox Game Pass now that Xbox owns its parent company, ZeniMax.

To Totilo’s question of, “Is it possible to recoup a $US7.5 ($11) billion investment if you don’t sell Elder Scrolls VI on the PlayStation?” Spencer’s first and rather succinct response was, “Yes.” Phil went on to elaborate the point, paying special care to paint the picture that Xbox is able to reach even greater numbers through its multitude of platforms and services available to players:

“I don’t want to be flip about that. This deal was not done to take games away from another player base like that. Nowhere in the documentation that we put together was: ‘How do we keep other players from playing these games?’ We want more people to be able to play games, not fewer people to be able to go play games. But I’ll also say in the model — I’m just answering directly the question that you had — when I think about where people are going to be playing and the number of devices that we had, and we have xCloud and PC and Game Pass and our console base, I don’t have to go ship those games on any other platform other than the platforms that we support in order to kind of make the deal work for us. Whatever that means.”

For a lot of gamers, a console’s exclusive titles are the deciding factor in whether to get said console. PlayStation players have had a wealth of stellar exclusive titles compared to Xbox’s rather anaemic first-party line-up over the past generation. But all these acquisitions look to put Xbox in a strong position to have an extremely competitive first-party catalogue.

What’s more, the likes of Xbox Game Pass (Xbox’s Netflix-like service), xCloud (Xbox’s cloud streaming service), the company’s strong push for cross-platform play, and with more first-party titles coming to Steam, players are given a lot of options when it comes to where they play their games.

Though Spencer didn’t say outright that Bethesda titles would not appear on PlayStation, it seems unlikely Xbox would spend $7.5 billion to release games on a competitors’ platform. However, Spencer has noted that any existing deals would still be honored, which means Deathloop will still likely remain a timed-exclusive.

Now we just wait and see whether the Elder Scrolls 6 is a Microsoft-exclusive and honestly, it’s sounding like that will be the case.