Bethesda games will not be Xbox exclusives — but Microsoft wants first dibs

(Image credit: Xbox)

Bethesda, recently required by Microsoft, is the engine behind popular IPs such as Dishonored, Doom, Fallout, Elder Scrolls, Wolfenstein and more. Fans of these franchises were alarmed when the Redmond-based tech giant purchased its parent company ZeniMax Media — could Bethesda games get restricted to Xbox and PC?

At the Jefferies Interactive Entertainment Virtual Conference, a Microsoft executive unveiled the company's future plans for Bethesda (via ExtremeTech). As it stands now, Microsoft has no desire to hoard the publisher's beloved catalog of games for itself.

Microsoft: Bethesda games will be the first or best on Xbox

Tom Stuart, CFO of Xbox, answered the question on the minds of countless gamers: Does Microsoft plan to have exclusive dominion over Bethesda games? 

"We don’t have intentions of just pulling all of Bethesda content out of Sony or Nintendo or otherwise," Stuart said. "What we want is we want that content, in the long run, to be either first or better or best or pick your differentiated experience, on our platforms. We will want Bethesda content to show up the best as — on our platforms.

In other words, the tech giant doesn't want to silo Bethesda IPs from other consoles, but it's hoping to entice gamers to play on Microsoft platforms by making Bethesda Xbox games more seductive and enticing.

"If you think about something like Game Pass, if it shows up best in Game Pass, that’s what we want to see, and we want to drive our Game Pass subscriber base through that Bethesda pipeline," Stuart said.

However, Stuart wanted to make clear that its current non-exclusive plans for Bethesda aren't written in stone. "I'm not announcing pulling content from platforms one way or the other, but I suspect you'll continue to see us shift towards a first or better or best approach."

By the way, if you're still scouring online stores for an Xbox Series X, Stuart said that availability for the high-demand console won't improve until Q2 of next year, which is five to six months from now. The good news is that Microsoft doesn't have plans to sequester Bethesda IPs, but the bad news is you'll need a miracle to secure a next-gen console.

Kimberly Gedeon

Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!