Phil Spencer’s very candid interview, published by Kotaku on Friday is going to be raising eyebrows for quite a while. The interview itself was wide-ranging.
One of the biggest takeaways from it though, was his lack of commitment to keep Bethesda titles on other platforms. To be clear, he didn’t rule out the idea that Elder Scrolls VI will be on the PS5. But he didn’t tamp down concern over the possibility of that game being Xbox and PC only, either.
In fact, Spencer didn’t directly shed light one way or the other. But when you start saying things like “I don’t have to do it,” publicly, it’s usually foreshadowing.
The topic was raised when the Xbox chief was asked if his company could recoup its investment in Bethesda even if it didn’t offer Elder Scrolls VI on other platforms. He was quick to say yes.
Spencer then said he didn’t want to be flip about it. But he didn’t do a 180 either.
“I’m just answering directly the question that you had—when I think about where people are going to be playing and the number of devices that we had, and we have xCloud and PC and Game Pass and our console base, I don’t have to go ship those games on any other platform other than the platforms that we support in order to kind of make the deal work for us. Whatever that means.”
The Xbox leader also said the company didn’t make the deal “to take games away from other platforms.” Some might take solace in that comment. I tend to still see a blank spot where a promise not to do so should be.
Phil Spencer’s Walking A Tightrope
It is entirely possible the exec has no interest at all in limiting platforms Bethesda games will launch on. However, ask most gamers who prefer the PlayStation to the Xbox why and you’re almost certainly going to get a uniform answer.
“Sony has more exclusives.”
The first shot in the next stage of the console wars might have just been fired.