The fact that Elder Scrolls 6 is not appearing on the PS5 should come as no surprise
Microsoft has not had a favorable week. As part of the FTC v. Activision legal proceedings, additional documents have been leaked, revealing future st...
Microsoft has not had a favorable week. As part of the FTC v. Activision legal proceedings, additional documents have been leaked, revealing future strategies, game releases, hardware, and other matters that the company is likely displeased to see already made public. However, this is a consequence of such a prominent acquisition, where Xbox is compelled to disclose its intentions in order to finalize the deal. We avidly devour all gossip stories, so at least someone benefits from it.
Amidst this abundance of gaming delights, there also came a revelation that we all should have foreseen, yet it has left a number of players dissatisfied. Elder Scrolls 6, the next major game by Bethesda Game Studios, slated to see the light of day no earlier than 2026, will not be available for the PlayStation 5 or other competing platforms.
There was a similar outcry regarding Starfield when it was announced that it would be exclusive to Xbox and PC, despite prior rumors of a version being developed for the PS5 before Microsoft acquired Bethesda. It is unfortunate that fewer people will now be able to play one of the biggest games of the year, but it is a logical decision when you have invested billions in a gaming company and need to prove its value. Doing the opposite would please consumers but upset nearly everyone else. As a profit-oriented enterprise, Microsoft has made a decision.
Behaving cordially with competitors undermines that, especially when a major reason for the acquisition was to avoid a potential future where Starfield becomes exclusive to PlayStation instead. I would prefer to play Starfield on the PS5, but for now, that is not an option because this industry has become a chaos of greedy monopolies and acquisitions that, in many cases, have yet to bear fruit. Bethesda had to prove its worth and will need to do so repeatedly if Microsoft hopes to justify sprawling role-playing games that take years and millions of dollars to develop. A cross-platform release could generate additional profits, but currently, I do not envision a world where that happens unless out of sheer desperation.
What is amusing is that Xbox has consistently denied ever discussing the possibility of scrapping versions of its titles in development for other platforms in the past. This happened with Redfall, where it was denied that a PS5 version was canceled after the Bethesda acquisition. However, it turns out that this did indeed occur, as evidenced by the presence of a table in these court documents that precisely describes this tactic. Thus, we also learned about Elder Scrolls 6, thereby proving that companies are willing to spread little white lies when it serves their interests and appeases shareholders. But I am no longer surprised by it. I see no value in getting upset over blockbusters like Elder Scrolls 6 or Starfield, which are now being financed by Bethesda and coming to other competing platforms. We should be unhappy about it, even if our protests will not change anything.
It is ironic that in a console landscape that is becoming less reliant on traditional exclusives, the ownership of games by companies is more uncertain than ever before. Acquisitions are made to help consoles stay ahead in a race that is slowly shifting towards different platforms and services, consolidating an entertainment medium that is eager to spread its wings and become more accessible than ever before. So, what is it then? Whether they realize it or not, the folks at Microsoft are undermining this progress. It's frustrating to see valuable artworks treated as bargaining chips, even though the intellectual part of me understands that it makes sense. But that doesn't mean I have to be happy about it. Either way, we all have to deal with it.