Microsoft Says It's Reserving Future Bethesda Game Exclusivity For Xbox Game Pass

Xbox Phil Spencer
This has been an interesting week in the land of video games, with Microsoft having officially received regulatory approval to proceed with its $7.5 billion acquisition of ZeniMax, which owns Bethesda. Microsoft's Phil Spencer was quick to confirm that some future Bethesda titles would be exclusive to Xbox and PC, and following up on that, he said the move is primarily geared towards bolstering Xbox Game Pass.

Let's back up a moment. When Spencer talked about Microsoft's exclusivity plans, we noted it was an unsurprising stance. That was also the most likely outcome when the deal was first announced, and if you're an Xbox or PC gamer, it's great news—you'll be able to play future Bethesda games. For PlayStation 5 owners, well, the news isn't so stellar. But hey, PS5 owners have their own exclusive titles, like Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales.

It seems each day brings a little bit of additional clarity to the situation, and in an Xbox roundtable discussion, Spencer doubled down on the notion that not every future Bethesda title will be an exclusive.

"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," Spencer said.

That means some future Bethesda games will indeed to be playable on the PS5 and Nintendo Switch, and wherever else. But at the same time, that is not why Microsoft is willing to fork over $7.5 billion for a major publisher and development studio. It's all about bringing exclusives to Game Pass.

"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," Spencer said.

It remains to be seen what future titles will end up as exclusives and which ones will be available on competing platforms. In the meantime, Microsoft made quick work of the regulatory approval by porting no less than 20 Bethesda games to Game Pass, including various Doom, Fallout, and Wolfenstein games.