When Microsoft completed its $7.5 billion acquisition of ZeniMax Media, owners of Bethesda Softworks in March 2021 it was a seismic moment for gaming. Microsoft had just taken away from Sony’s clutches the studio behind Skyrim, and more importantly, the forthcoming new IP, Starfield.
The once PlayStation exclusive was even touted by The Verge and co as being one of the reasons Microsoft bought Zenimax – it simply couldn’t allow Starfield to be a PlayStation exclusive.
Fast forward a couple of years, Starfield is an Xbox exclusive and, despite being a decent game, did not set the world alight upon release. There is time yet, major patches and the first DLC are on the cards but so, for Xbox fans, is the prospect of Starfield heading to PlayStation 5 – a move Dexerto says has not gone down well with the hardcore Xbox contingent.
Handing over sharing rights to the Xbox’s jewel in the exclusivity crown would mark a significant change in strategy for Microsoft, whose recent acquisition of Activision Blizzard has been around the track several times, partly due to concerns that the console giant might wave an exclusivity wand around the Call of Duty franchise, which is generally seen as bad for gaming.
Initial stories circulated that other Xbox exclusives such as Hi-Fi Rush and Sea of Thieves would be the ones to cross no man’s land waving a white flag, and while raising eyebrows, it is the insider briefing that Starfield will too cross the divide, albeit some time after the DLC has been released for Xbox.
While social media is awash with hyperbole of people buying Xboxes specifically to play Starfield there is little talk about how console exclusives might actually damage gaming. Should somebody really need to pay out for both machines just to play all the games they want to play?
There is still no official confirmation from Microsoft that any of this is evening happening, sources quoted elsewhere are all anonymous outsiders, but plenty of promising industry figures have commented that they believe it is happening.We now just need to wait to see how Microsoft handles breaking the news to its most loyal of supporters.