Unsurprisingly, Bethesda's Next Elder Scrolls Game Will Be Xbox & PC Exclusive

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was a big hit for Bethesda across all platforms, and one of the biggest was surely Sony's PlayStation 3. While that system had a rough launch compared to the cheaper Xbox 360, by 2011 it had overtaken Microsoft's system in sales, and the PlayStation 4 then dominated the Xbox One. We reckon a lot of players played Skyrim and Fallout 4 on Sony hardware.

Well, if those players want to play the next Elder Scrolls game, they'd better buy an Xbox or build a gaming PC. That's because Microsoft has owned Bethesda's parent company Zenimax Media since 2021, and simply based on that, you could reasonably have guessed that the game wouldn't be coming to PlayStation. You don't have to guess, though, because now there's semi-official confirmation, and it comes from the FTC vs. Microsoft case.

microsoft chart

As games journalist Stephen Totilo points out on Txitter, The Elder Scrolls Part VI showed up in the above chart which notes "platforms available" as Xbox and PC for the upcoming title. It also mentions a release date of "2026 or later" for the game, which is actually optimistic compared to comments made by Phil Spencer during the hearing. He remarked that the game was "five-plus years away," putting it in 2028 or later.

Anyone who is surprised by this hasn't been paying attention. Indeed, as the chart itself demonstrates, any game that wasn't contractually bound to appear on PlayStation before the Microsoft purchase of Zenimax simply hasn't appeared there. Even games that aren't part of huge franchises and brand identity like Hi-Fi Rush have been exclusive to Microsoft's platforms, although both Hi-Fi Rush and Starfield appeared on Steam from day one, which is at least preferable to them being exclusive to Microsoft's own game store.

No word yet on where in Tamriel the next game will take place.

The real question is whether The Elder Scrolls VI will show up on the current-generation Xbox. Despite that The Elder Scrolls VI was announced back at E3 2018, before the current-generation hardware was even announced, it's fairly likely that it won't show up on the extant Xbox machines because the 2028-or-later release window would mean some eight years on the current Xbox system.

That's not unprecedented; the Xbox 360 lasted 8 years, after all. Still, given that rumors for the PS5 Pro are heating up, we expect that there will either be a whole new system or at least an upgraded Xbox by the time The Elder Scrolls VI comes out. Of course, we recommend playing any Bethesda games on PC for the extensive mod support. Starfield had over 300 mods available before it even officially released, and doubtless the next Elder Scrolls game will be the same way.