Microsoft Wants Bethesda Games ‘First or Better or Best’ on Xbox

Xbox’s plans for its big Bethesda acquisition are starting to take shape as the company reveals that, as far as cross-platform is concerned, Bethesda games will be “first or better or best,” on Xbox consoles when they are released.Microsoft continues to field questions about the future of Bethesda, and Bethesda games on other platforms after its blockbuster acquisition of ZeniMax. Xbox CFO Tim Stuart spoke at the Jeffries Interactive Entertainment Virtual Conference last week (as transcribed by SeekingAlpha) and gave more details about the company’s plans for Bethesda and ZeniMax games and cross-platform.

“What we’ll do in the long run is we don’t have intentions of just pulling all of Bethesda content out of Sony or Nintendo or otherwise,” Stuart says. “But what we want is we want that content, in the long run, to be either first or better or best or pick your differentiated experience, on our platforms. We will want Bethesda content to show up the best as — on our platforms.”

Confirmed Xbox Series X Games

Stuart was clear that his statements aren’t meant to announce pulling content from other platforms, but says that audiences will see Xbox “continue to see us shift towards a first or better or best approach on our platforms.”

He also mentioned how this strategy will help Xbox’s prized Game Pass program going forward. “[I]f you think about something like Game Pass, if it shows up best in Game Pass, that’s what we want to see, and we want to drive our Game Pass subscriber base through that Bethesda pipeline,” Stuart adds.

So what does this mean? Well, for starters Stuart is just talking about cross-platform releases. But for Bethesda games, and presumably, ZeniMax games, that are released on other platforms players can expect to find those games either first on Xbox or possibly with additions that make it “best” on an Xbox platform.

What this means in practice remains to be seen as the ink is still drying on the ZeniMax acquisition. So far, the deal has produced a few more ZeniMax games appearing on Game Pass like Doom Eternal. And Xbox boss Phil Spencer has said that it’ll determine the release plan for ZeniMax and Bethesda games on a “case by case” basis which leaves even more flexibility to how Xbox approaches future games from the developers.We’ll likely get a better picture of Xbox’s strategy in the future, but both of Bethesda’s big games like Starfield and Elder Scrolls 6 are still seemingly years away.

Matt T.M. Kim is a reporter for IGN.


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