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Xbox Should Be Clearer About Software Exclusivity

With the ink still drying on their Bethesda buyout, the House of Phil continues to bolster its now gargantuan first party studio slate with surprising acquisitions, newly established development endeavours like The Initiative, and enough games to make Game Pass a defacto smorgasbord of enticing content. However, the murkiness of chosen release platforms for certain upcoming titles continues to be a tad perplexing, with non committal comments on Starfield and Elder Scrolls VI, coupled with the Indiana Jones reveal, leaving many folks wondering where exactly these adventures are ultimately going to pop up.

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waverider100d ago

it's business. Thats why they cant talk about it.

-Foxtrot100d ago

No they’d just rather confuse the message as close to launch as they can and then say it’s coming to other platforms

Microsoft is the king of smoke and mirrors

Neonridr100d ago

I don't believe they are obligated to tell anyone. You would like to believe that the larger titles will still release everywhere. I believe Bethesda still has the rights to self publish some titles anyways that won't be controlled by MS.

ziggurcat100d ago

"I believe Bethesda still has the rights to self publish some titles anyways that won't be controlled by MS."

You would be very naïve to believe that MS doesn't have control over where those games went. Spencer has already made the statement in an interview late last year that he didn't have to ship titles to competing platforms in order for the deal to be good for them. Meaning: they are 100% going to keep unreleased Bethesda games exclusive to Xbox/PC.

LordoftheCritics100d ago

I think they might be confused themselves. I mean look at all the Xbox names.

lifeisgamesok100d ago

What I've learned with Xbox is that most of the time, it won't be exclusive

AngelicIceDiamond100d ago

If you're talking about Bethesda the deal hasn't been done yet. When the deal goes all the way through we'll know what's going where.

Outside of Bethesda other MS studios are Xbox and PC only.

DJStotty99d ago

@Foxtrot

They can not disclose platforms for a company/game they do not currently own.

I really do not know what you expect them to do? Break the law?

InUrFoxHole99d ago

Lol we believe in generations!

SullysCigar99d ago

"Microsoft is the king of smoke and mirrors" 100% THIS.

Microsoft: "We've totally bought bethesda and stuff - QUICK, pre-order Series X!!!"
Gamers: " Wow, big news! So are those games Xbox exclusive now?"
Microsoft: "Umm...can't tell you - it's a secret and we'd get put in jail, maybe"
Gamers: " You haven't actually bought them, have you???!"
Microsoft: "Well, umm, no, but we will in a year or so - So BUY Series X NOW!!!"
Gamers: "*Sigh* All these games will be multiplatform still, won't they? -_-"
Microsoft: "... ...BUY SERIES X!!!"

gamer780499d ago

I've been through numerous acquisitions, companies are not allowed to talk about future plans until the deal has completely gone through. Usually the company issues internnal memos telling employees what they can say, and usually thats only the line of "i can direct you to our "public communications correspondent"

nice try to turn this into another MS is bad thread...

Kornholic99d ago (Edited 99d ago )

I don't know why you are getting so many downvotes. It has been seen countless times that when it comes to games, Microsoft is all talk and little action.

Tetsdah99d ago

That strategy is fairly typical of them. The thing is, why announce it without clarifying what exclusivity is there? I surmise it is to entice people to buy the system on promises of games years out potentially.

The other objective is more or less what is happening in comment sections and articles like these. To reveal it this early despite being so vague about details, it seems was intended to headline grab. They don't need to tell us about it, so why tell us about it if there are no details to provide? This whole reveal has generated so conversation about XsX and "will they or won't they".

Nintendo and Sonys acquisition are clear and defined, and their discussions occur in short term. And after game releases.

mgszelda199d ago

Well their smoke and mirrors all of the xbox one generation was to say exclusives are coming.

Gunstar7599d ago

They can't discuss anything about bethesda/zenimax until the acquisition is complete.

ILostMyMind99d ago

@ziggurcat
Spencer also said that Xbox games will not be on PC.

hamburgerhill99d ago

I hate smoke and mirrors. Hopefully MS can come out of the closet and just be up front with there current fan base. I'm sure once or if they release news of these games going multiplat they'll understand that there fans who've hung around for years waiting for exclusives will have finally more than likely had it. I would much rather be honorable than someone always wavers deceitfully. Hopefully they do the right thing for long time fans which will look good even to the biggest haters.

DogJosha99d ago

Phil already addressed this issue and if I remember correctly it was pretty much that announced titles will remain multiplatform but unannounced titles can be either. Did everyone forget this info because it gives you a chance to hate Microsoft again?

Sayai jin99d ago

They are not allowed by law to discuss exclusivity, make demands, etc to Bethesda while the acquisition is in process.

NeoGamer23299d ago (Edited 99d ago )

It is called "Marketing".

Whether it was Sony waiting until the last minute to admit that they will ship some nextgen games on both PS4 and PS5

or

Microsoft not telling us what platforms games will be on until the last minute.

Neither side can claim that they are any more righteous then the other.

Flewid63899d ago (Edited 99d ago )

Sounds like business.

frostypants99d ago

That's basically what OP said. It's business.

carlos42499d ago

Buy an xbox if youre not sure if it will come to playstation. Lol. That’s what they are hoping you will do.

Sunny_D99d ago

I wouldn’t hold my breath in thinking these games are coming to other platforms other than PC. If they do then that will be a surprise. Just don’t want people holding out only to be disappointed lol.

amazinglover99d ago

Or maybe and bear with me there where preexisting deals for these games before Bethesda was bought and its either too expensive to break them or they can't.

Darthpaul8499d ago

Na they just can’t announce all Bethesda games will be exclusive until the deal is final. Microsoft had zero need to release games on PlayStation this is all about gamepass and Xbox

OptimusDK98d ago

The trade has not been approved yet, That is why they are not able to inform about their intentions more clearly. And that is a FACT- whatever N4g thinks.

+ Show (22) more repliesLast reply 98d ago
RazzerRedux100d ago (Edited 100d ago )

What happened to "transparency"? If every future Bethesda game were exclusive why hasn't Phil Spencer said so?

Atom666100d ago

Absolutely shouldn't talk about it.

Buying out Zenimax is subject to regulatory review. MS was obligated to announce that kind of sizable acquisition to shareholders, but what follows is an (often) slow process of review from the FTC/DOJ, state regulatory agencies, and foreign agencies.

Essentially what they look for is antitrust or anticompetitive deals. This is most commonly performed from a consumer's perspective. Front and center in the DOJ's own guidelines are questions relating to the market impact. Specifically, does this acquisition limit or "foreclose" a relevant competitor from accessing a product.

All of this "case by case" talk, and the vague comments from MS or Todd Howard are designed to say as little as possible that would hurt the deal.

MS overpaid to keep other bidders away. Now they are walking a line between hyping it up for justified PR reasons vs. saying something that gives their attorneys heartburn.

AngelicIceDiamond100d ago

Because the deal hasn't been closed yet. Everything is still being finalized. He even said he legally can't say anything in terms of what's going where. Pretty sure he doesn't wanna lose his job.

RazzerRedux100d ago

Meh....not buying it. Microsoft made major moves like putting Doom Eternal on Game Pass right away and they have already said a lot more than just "case by case" with Xbox CFO Stuart Little providing a number of possibilities like "first or best on Xbox". But fine.....let's say they are playing it close to the chest then when the deal is finalized then we have full transparency.....right?

DJStotty99d ago

"What happened to "transparency"? If every future Bethesda game were exclusive why hasn't Phil Spencer said so?"

Because Razzer that would be illegal.

RazzerRedux99d ago (Edited 99d ago )

"Because Razzer that would be illegal."

How?

"They can not discuss Bethesda/ZeniMax exclusivity rights as they do not own them yet."

lol...they already have. Quite a lot actually.

“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 said (transcribed by Seeking Alpha).

“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.

“Yes. That’s not a point about being exclusive. That’s not a point about we’re being — adjusting timing or content or road map. But if 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.

https://www.videogameschron...

@Dirty

"If you want an honest answer: They are not allowed to do so."

So Tim Stuart wasn't allowed to say all the stuff he said, huh? lol....ok

DiRtY99d ago

If you want an honest answer: They are not allowed to do so.

Bethesda is still independent and they can’t announce anything from them as long as the deal is not finalized.

That would be against the law. They only announced that they are planning to acquire them. The deal is closed in a couple of months.

A 7.5 billion transition is not something you do between your lunch breaks.

Skyfly4799d ago (Edited 99d ago )

"Speaking at the Jefferies Interactive Entertainment conference last week, Xbox chief financial officer Tim Stuart discussed how Microsoft intends to handle the release of Bethesda Softworks games once the Elder Scrolls, Fallout and Doom publisher becomes a first-party company.

Microsoft announced in September that it intends to acquire ZeniMax Media and its game publisher Bethesda Softworks for $7.5 billion, with the deal expected to be completed in early 2021.

“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 said (transcribed by Seeking Alpha).

“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.

“Yes. That’s not a point about being exclusive. That’s not a point about we’re being — adjusting timing or content or road map. But if 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"

@Videogameschronicle.com

shabz66699d ago

Didn’t they already say case by case basis.

InUrFoxHole99d ago

Because they're all not. If you watch any of the interviews since they started dealing with Bethesda you'll learn 2 things. 1. The games that Bethesda has sony deals with will remain intact. 2. Exclusivity is a game by game basis beyond that.

green99d ago

@RazzerRedux: you don't have to buy what people are saying, but it is 100% true.

@Atom666: two thumbs up. As someone who has been part of an acquisition of a startup, you are 100% correct.

SmokinAces99d ago

@Atom666

Looks like the N4G lawyers have turned up to weigh in. They absolutely should talk about it, they need the positive PR, if people knew these games were exclusive it would encourage people who might be on the fence to purchase a new xbox its smart marketing and there's no legal reason why they couldn't be more clear about it.

RazzerRedux99d ago (Edited 99d ago )

@green

And yet no one, including you, can explain Tim Stuart's comments? lol...ok. I find it incredibly suspicious when the people you say are correct are making assertions that talking about this would range from a matter of increasing further oversight to outright criminal acts. You do understand there is a grand canyon of a difference between Atom666 saying they "shouldn't talk about it" and others saying it is flatly illegal to do so?

CorndogBurglar99d ago (Edited 99d ago )

"And yet no one, including you, can explain Tim Stuart's comments?"

The difference is Tim Stuart's comments weren't announcing anything. He was simply saying what could happen.

Its like when Disney bought Marvel. Kevin Feige talked about the acquisition, and even made comments about acquiring all these Marvel characters they didn't previously have movie rights to, but they never once made official announcements of what characters were getting movies until the deal was 100% complete.

This is no different. They've made comments, but haven't made any official announcements.

Atom66699d ago

You can buy whatever you want Razzer, just telling you facts. There are easy to digest guidelines and rule notations available from FTC and DOJ with layman terms to help understand.

@SmokinAces

You couldn't afford me, kid.

Just Google some shit if you think I'm stating something wrong. I don't give a shit how you FEEL they should do things. Facts and the law say they absolutely should not talk about foreclosing a competitor from access to a product.

RazzerRedux99d ago

And I'm showing where Microsoft themselves don't agree with your facts as their actual words don't jive with what you are saying.

You say they shouldn't talk about it. I'm saying they already have. It is what it is.

Witchcraft99d ago

*Sigh* dude, you're embarrassing yourself. Everyone except you understands the difference between stating a vague intention and making announcements for a company MS doesn't even own yet. Would you like MS to share a list of people they will fire from Zenimax? You know, for 'transparency'?

RazzerRedux99d ago

@witchcraft

You going to cite the law or regulation or any kind of reference where it differentiates between vague intentions and announcements during acquisitions?

Frankly, outside of Atom666, I think the vast majority of what has been said here has been either made up or simply copying and pasting what someone else has said.

And if you want to take it up with Microsoft about bragging about being transparent, have at it.

Christopher99d ago

***Buying out Zenimax is subject to regulatory review. MS was obligated to announce that kind of sizable acquisition to shareholders, but what follows is an (often) slow process of review from the FTC/DOJ, state regulatory agencies, and foreign agencies.***

I hope you don't think that every company buy out involves this because it happened one time at a company you worked at.

Let alone that people involved in the deal have already discussed exclusivity plans with their IPs.

AngelicIceDiamond99d ago

@Raz You're talking about internal speculation amongst MS. They're not announcing anythinv or claiming anything just discussions on what they would like to do once it's officially purchased. They can talk about what they would like to do, but can't announce anything.

If I were MS, I would make Starfield (I think it'll be timed exclusive), E6, Indiana Jones (if it's a serious AAA) and other Big AAA from Bethesda exclusive.

Case by case basis should be F76 (expansions or revisions on the game), Zenimax Elder scrolls game or new IP mmorpg online.

It's like I said if MS wants to be actually competitive make those games only on Xbox/PC. MS needs to understand that PS5 is already running ahead of this race but that gap will undoubtedly widen just like last gen all over again. It would be very wise to keep those games exclusive.

Zeref99d ago (Edited 99d ago )

Doom being on gamepass was most likely already planned.

Christopher99d ago

Doom was on PSNow, so it going to GamePass is nothing noteworthy. Same with the Wolfenstein games.

I'd also note, the one year "to buy Bethesda" likely has more to do with getting other exclusive/marketing deals out of the way before a final purchase. Things like Deathloop. Likely has nothing to do with "finalizing" the deal. They wouldn't be so public about it if there was a good chance it wouldn't happen. Let alone the deal seems to be more of a we own you, you only market for us, but you decide where to public deal.

SmokinAces98d ago

@Atom666

"You couldn't afford me, kid."

Wouldn't bother to waste the money. I'll take your failed attempt at an insult by calling me kid as a compliment so thank you.

"Just Google some shit if you think I'm stating something wrong. I don't give a shit how you FEEL they should do things. Facts and the law say they absolutely should not talk about foreclosing a competitor from access to a product."

Wow bud calm down you're getting a bit too worked up there, lol. Guess you cared how I felt since you took the time to respond with that very angry reply.

+ Show (19) more repliesLast reply 98d ago
99d ago
ILostMyMind99d ago

The studios themselves can tell which platform their games will be on.

neutralgamer199299d ago

It's think they have to be clear with their message this will help xbox brand become stronger and so do the services they are trying to sell. Let the gamers know that the games they are looking forward to are only coming on xbox and pc

This is coming from a playstation fan. I feel like ms gets in its own way sometimes by these mixed messages

Also to gamers who think bathesda games will come to PlayStation or other platforms where is the evidence? Has any of ms owned studio release a game on playstation. Maybe I am wrong but I don't think ms spent 7.5 billion so the games could be played elsewhere

+ Show (2) more repliesLast reply 98d ago
Destiny1080100d ago

only know, they are asking phil to be clearer

slavish0100d ago (Edited 100d ago )

how many times does Todd have to say m$ haven't bought them yet. it's the intention to buy. m$ can't speak for Bethesda at all

DJStotty99d ago

Most factual comment i have read so far. ^^^^^^

SmokinAces99d ago

So they could say they bought a company they haven't yet bought, but cant say rather games are exclsuive or not, LOL hilarious.

StoneyYoshi99d ago (Edited 99d ago )

"We are thrilled to announce Microsoft has entered into an agreement to acquire ZeniMax Media, parent company of Bethesda Softworks."
https://news.xbox.com/en-us...

Where in that sentence does it say they just bought Bethesda? Nowhere have they said they officially bought Bethesda... they have only stated what I quoted above. The rest is PR FUD to bring all this speculating and attention to the Xbox brand.

Unless you have a quote from them stating they bought them?

kayoss99d ago

Its similar to Disney buying Fox. They enter into agreement but the sale will not be finalized until all the legal work and audits are completed. This may include negotiations about existing project thats was already in the pipeline before the acquisition. The process of disney buying out fox took almost an entire year. I know this will be a shorter time but its a similar scenario.

smashman9899d ago

Its not quite intention to buy either. Bethesda has been purchased but it takes a long time to finalize a transaction like this.

Paperwork so to speak.

PertySlick99d ago

You are correct. It was reported that Microsoft is hoping to finalize and close the deal in the second half of fiscal 2021.

+ Show (1) more replyLast reply 99d ago
TheColbertinator100d ago (Edited 100d ago )

We have to trust Lord Phil. It is his divine will that leads us forward.

Atticus_finch99d ago

You sound like a Trump supporter. Never go full Trump supporter.

Kakashi Hatake99d ago

Liberals. Preach tolerance then claw at anything not that doesn't agree with your ideas.

Atticus_finch98d ago

Im not being intolerant, I'm being non PC. What's the matter I thought you guys loved that. Don't be a snowflake.
The right pretends to be christian then elect and defend to death a walking breathing example of the 7 deadly sins.

Knightofelemia100d ago

You do realize we still won't know until later on in 2021 when Microsoft takes full control of the Zenimax purchase right now everything is up in the air Microsoft still doesn't even know what to do.

StarLink99d ago

No one seems to understand that simple fact. You can't issue orders on something you don't own yet.

Rude-ro99d ago

I think the point stems from more than just the purchase.
It is the entire existence of Xbox.
The 360 was successful mainly for having third party games purchased and kept exclusive via a contract.
As those contracts expired, the games did move to multi platform or, like gears, purchased to keep the ip.
“Transparency”
Like someone else stated... they can act like the deal is done. Articles written saying so.... but it is not.
I get that they can not speak about what it is they plan to do with said acquisition.. but to this point... there has been no acquisition.

Did you know that when there are major acquisitions, said company doing the purchasing can have full access to the company. Seeing numbers, engines, etc....
If they pull out of the purchase, they pay a smaller price for the headaches and move on.... with all collected data.

“Transparency” would be nice... but not a rule of law.

Shiken99d ago (Edited 99d ago )

I know right? This is why both Bethesda and MS are not talking about exclusives yet. All of their new announcements have yet to have platforms revealed because while it is likely MS will soon 100% own Bethesda, they don't have it finalized yet. Bethesda will not announce a multiplat because MS can make it exclusive when the deal closes. Likewise MS will not announce an exclusive in case it doesn't go through for whatever reason.

It is not that hard to understand, but if it goes through you can bet on them being exclusive to XBox and PC. Bethesda being silent as well is a tribute to that.

Sharky23199d ago

I know one thing... they paid 9 billion for these studios. I think they’d be crazy not to keep the most popular games multi platform. That’s too much money sitting on the table. They will wanna recoup their money as soon as possible. With the popularity of elder scrolls and fallout. If they make them exclusive there could be a back lash. That’s the reason they didn’t keep Minecraft on one platform. They’re wanting to make as much money as possible. Multi platform is the way to do it.