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Xbox boss says Microsoft’s Bethesda deal was all about exclusive games for Game Pass

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Microsoft’s $7.5 billion investment was all about Xbox Game Pass

Phil Spencer Microsoft Xbox stock

Microsoft completed its $7.5 billion Bethesda acquisition earlier this week and initially hinted that “some new titles in the future” would be exclusive to Xbox and PC players. That some language left some wiggle room for the possibility of future Bethesda titles to appear on Sony’s PlayStation 5, Nintendo’s Switch, or elsewhere. Now, Microsoft’s Xbox chief, Phil Spencer, is making it very clear why the company paid $7.5 billion for Bethesda: Xbox Game Pass.

Speaking during a Bethesda and Xbox roundtable event today, Spencer revealed that Xbox Game Pass is at the heart of this Bethesda deal. “If you’re an Xbox customer, the thing I want you to know is that this is about delivering great exclusive games for you that ship on platforms where Game Pass exists,” said Spencer. “That’s our goal, that’s why we’re doing this, that’s the root of this partnership that we’re building.”

It’s not a surprising admission, as it has been obvious Microsoft has been gearing up for a different kind of Xbox future with its Xbox Game Pass subscription push. But hearing it directly from the head of Xbox makes it even clearer that Xbox Game Pass is Microsoft’s true next-gen Xbox.

This doesn’t mean Bethesda games will suddenly disappear from other platforms. In fact, it’s the opposite. “There’s contractual obligations that we’re going to see through, as we always do in every one of these instances,” says Spencer. “We have games that exist on other platforms, and we’re gonna go support those games on the platforms they’re on. There’s communities of players and we love those communities and we’ll continue to invest in them.”

Microsoft and Bethesda only cleared the deal recently, so it’s too early for any game announcements, but questions remain over Bethesda’s new and upcoming Starfield title and even the recently announced Indiana Jones game. Will these both be exclusive to Xbox and PC? We simply don’t know yet. Spencer did mention that “even in the future there might be things that have contractual things, or legacy on different platforms that we’ll go do,” so there could potentially be new Bethesda games appearing on non-Microsoft platforms.

What’s clear is that the long-term goal is for Bethesda to create exclusive games that will only be available on platforms where Xbox Game Pass is supported. At the moment, that’s Xbox consoles, Windows PCs, Android phones, and soon, iOS devices via the web.

Here’s Spencer’s full statement on Bethesda exclusivity:

So obviously I can’t sit here and say every Bethesda game is exclusive, because we know that’s not true. There’s contractual obligations that we’re going to see through, as we always do in every one of these instances. We have games that exist on other platforms, and we’re gonna go support those games on the platforms they’re on. There’s communities of players and we love those communities and we’ll continue to invest in them. And even in the future there might be things that have contractual things, or legacy on different platforms that we’ll go do. But if you’re an Xbox customer, the thing I want you to know is that this is about delivering great exclusive games for you that ship on platforms where Game Pass exists. That’s our goal, that’s why we’re doing this, that’s the root of this partnership that we’re building.