Bethesda’s Head of Publishing, Pete Hines, sheds light on the reasoning behind the exclusivity of the highly anticipated space-faring RPG, Starfield, for Xbox Series X/S and PC. This decision comes as a result of Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda, allowing the development team to streamline their focus on fewer platforms. Hines emphasizes the benefits of this exclusivity, including increased efficiency and improved quality assurance.
The acquisition deal, brought about a significant shift in Starfield’s release plans. Prior to the acquisition, the game was expected to launch on both Sony and Microsoft consoles, however leaked E3 2021 footage revealed that the game would be exclusively available on Xbox Series X/S and PC.
Hines emphasizes the advantages of working exclusively on Xbox consoles, highlighting the team’s ability to concentrate their efforts on a single platform and avoid the complexities of dealing with multiple console ecosystems. This streamlined approach allows for more efficient development and extensive quality testing. Hines provides an example of how focusing solely on Xbox builds allows for greater attention to detail and quicker bug fixing.
While the exclusivity of Starfield has disappointed PlayStation fans, Hines expresses his understanding of their reaction. He acknowledges that the decision to make the game exclusive to Xbox is driven by development considerations rather than any desire to alienate PlayStation players. Hines admits that it “bothered” him to see the disappointment among PlayStation fans.
The exclusivity of Starfield has become a contentious topic in the ongoing legal battle between Microsoft and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC argues that Starfield’s exclusivity contradicts Microsoft’s earlier assurances that they would keep titles like Call of Duty on PlayStation consoles if the Activision Blizzard deal goes through. The exclusivity of Starfield and the upcoming Indiana Jones game, which was also planned for a multiplatform release before the acquisition, are seen as evidence challenging Microsoft’s claims.
As the release of Starfield approaches, the exclusivity decision continues to spark debates among gamers and industry observers. While Xbox users eagerly anticipate the game’s arrival, PlayStation fans remain disappointed by the loss of the highly anticipated title. The outcome of the legal battle between Microsoft and the FTC may have broader implications for the future of console exclusivity and the availability of Bethesda titles on various platforms.
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