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Microsoft Bethesda deal is all about Game Pass, but exclusivity still a mystery

Microsoft has outlined its intentions for the Bethesda Studio after completing the gigantic acquisition and, now the smoke has cleared, it appears the move was designed primarily to boost the Game Pass subscription offering.

During a Bethesda and Xbox roundtable event on Thursday, Xbox chief Phil Spencer didn’t rule out Bethesda games would still reach other platforms, but the priority is 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,” said Spencer during the live stream. “That’s our goal, that’s why we’re doing this, that’s the root of this partnership that we’re building.”

In a post on the Xbox Wire blog, Microsoft announced 20 Bethesda games are today joining the Game Pass stable, including games from franchises like Dishonored, Doom, The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, and Wolfenstein.

Microsoft has been coy about its plans for franchises like Fallout, The Elder Scrolls, Doom, which have traditionally been multi-platform games. Bethesda is also making a new Indiana Jones game and the eagerly-anticipated Starfield RPG.

You can check out the roundtable event below. Spencer’s comments on exclusivity start at around 9-minutes in:

It’s still not clear whether Microsoft will keep these titles exclusive to its own platforms, but they’ll definitely be part of Game Pass. Existing contracts will be honoured, but after that, it remains to be seen whether PS5 or Switch consoles will get a look-in for new Bethesda games.

Spencer added: “I can’t sit here and say every Bethesda game is exclusive, because we know that’s not true. 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. There’s communities of players and we love those communities and we’ll continue to invest in them. And even in the future there might be things that have contractual things, or legacy on different platforms that we’ll go do.”