Ever since Microsoft purchased Bethesda for $7.5 billion back in September 2020 — two months before the PS5 went on sale — the idea of future games appearing on Sony consoles has looked slim, barring a handful where work was too far along to cancel. Starfield, due November 11, 2022, definitely does not fit into that category so it should be a surprise to nobody that it won’t be on PS5.
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Nonetheless, Bethesda’s Pete Hines sensibly refused to deal in absolutes. “I don’t know if I would go so far as to say you’re done ever playing stuff on PlayStation, but again, I don’t know the answer to that right now,” he was quoted as saying.
As hype began to rise again that maybe Microsoft was just bluffing, or that this was only a timed exclusive, the company was forced to step in and throw cold water on the idea.
“Starfield will be launching exclusively on Xbox Series X|S and PC on November 11, 2022,” Aaron Greenberg, general manager of Xbox games marketing, replied to one such optimistic tweet (opens in new tab). ”Game Pass members can play it day one as well on Xbox & PC. I know we have said this all before and none of that has or will change.”
After somebody pointed out that, once again, this isn’t as unambiguous as it could be given “launching exclusively” isn’t the same thing as “will never be anywhere else,” Greenberg was clearer still (opens in new tab): “We have tried to be as clear as possible, not a timed exclusive, this is simply where the game is being made.”
We have tried to be as clear as possible, not a timed exclusive, this is simply where the game is being made. 💚August 30, 2021
Never a better time for Xbox exclusives
Again, nobody should be surprised by this development. You don’t spend $7.5 billion on a games developer and then fail to leverage your advantage over your competitors. And with the purchase announced months before the PS5 went on sale, Sony gamers can’t say they weren’t warned. The choice was always simple: switch to Xbox, buy both consoles, build a gaming PC or go without Bethesda games.
But while nobody would claim that console exclusives are a good thing as such, Microsoft has at least made its exclusive titles easier to access than ever. The Xbox Series S, as I’ve written before, makes for an ideal secondary machine for PS5 owners to scoop up the exclusives they’ve missed, and with an Xbox Game Pass subscription, you don’t even have to worry about the extra cost of the games either. Simply buy a $299 Xbox Series S, take out a Game Pass trial, and rattle through Starfield without paying an extra $60 for the game itself. It’s a competitive offering.
And while Microsoft was careful not to mention streaming as an option for Starfield at launch, it’s pretty clear that the ability to play Xbox games without dedicated hardware is the company’s ultimate goal. Xbox Cloud Gaming has matured immensely over its short life, and if it continues to do so, it may well be a tempting option for gamers who don’t want to stump up for new hardware when Fallout 5 or The Elder Scrolls 6 rolls around.