Will Elder Scrolls 6 be an Xbox exclusive after Bethesda acquisition?

Brad Norton
Elder Scrolls VI on Xbox

Bethesda’s highly anticipated Elder Scrolls 6 is still being kept under wraps for now, but will the next-gen title be exclusive to Xbox hardware in light of Microsoft’s acquisition? Here’s everything we know.

Despite being unveiled in 2018, details on the upcoming Elder Scrolls title have been few and far between. With Starfield set to release first, we could still be a few years out. However, that hasn’t put a stop to endless speculation online.

From the setting to the release date, rumors continue to circulate. One of the biggest talking points is in regards to platform exclusivity. Following Microsoft’s blockbuster $7.5 billion deal to acquire Bethesda’s parent company ZeniMax Media, fans desperately want to know if Elder Scrolls VI will be exclusive to Xbox.

We now have a clear picture of how it’s all going to work moving forward. In an hour-long conversation with Microsoft’s Vice President of Gaming Phil Spencer, the fate of Elder Scrolls exclusivity was all but confirmed.

Will Elder Scrolls 6 be an Xbox exclusive?

When it comes to the future of Elder Scrolls, exclusivity appears to be a key focus in Microsoft’s new relationship. However, that doesn’t restrict Elder Scrolls 6 to Xbox hardware specifically. “If you’re an Xbox customer, this is about delivering great exclusive games for you that ship on platforms where Game Pass exists,” Spencer outlined.

This means a vast majority of upcoming Bethesda titles will be exclusive to both Xbox and PC. With Game Pass in mind, this obviously excludes Sony and Nintendo platforms from the conversation.

Given the enormity of Elder Scrolls VI, expect to see it follow this trend. “That’s why we’re doing this, that’s the root of this partnership,” he added.

Xbox Game Pass has been a major focus for Microsoft of late and 20 Bethesda classics have now joined the subscription service. Everything from Doom Eternal to Skyrim is now available as part of the acquisition.

skyrim anniversary edition
Can you believe it’s been 10 years since Skyrim came out?

Phil Spencer interview about Elder Scrolls 6

Spencer opened up more about the possibility of Elder Scrolls 6 being an Xbox exclusive in an interview with GQ. Since it was announced that Starfield will be an Xbox exclusive, Spencer has revealed he envisions the same thing for Elder Scrolls 6. However, it takes some deciphering, he said:

“It’s not about punishing any other platform, like I fundamentally believe all of the platforms can continue to grow. But in order to be on Xbox, I want us to be able to bring the full complete package of what we have. And that would be true when I think about Elder Scrolls 6. That would be true when I think about any of our franchises.”

While Spencer didn’t outright confirm that the Elder Scrolls 6 will be an Xbox exclusive here, if you read between the lines, it very much sounds like this is the goal. He went on to explain further:

“I do this weird exercise that I like. You go back and you read a review of the first Elder Scrolls. And then you read The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion’s, then you read The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim’s. You black out a couple things. And they read the same. ‘You’ve stepped out and oh my gosh, it feels so real.’ People change. Technology changes. But the ultimate goal is still to make it so that, when you boot the game up, you feel like you’ve been transported.”

Will every Bethesda title be exclusive to Game Pass?

Deathloop artwork
Deathloop is an upcoming Bethesda title that won’t be launching on Xbox hardware.

This news doesn’t mean that every single Bethesda game will be limited to Game Pass, however. Certain releases have pre-existing deals with various publishers that maintain the right to release across other platforms. 

Take the upcoming Deathloop for example. Despite being a Bethesda game, it’s launching as a console exclusive for Sony’s PlayStation 5. Similar instances will likely occur from time to time, Spencer acknowledged.

“I can’t sit here and say every Bethesda game is exclusive. We know that’s not true, there are contractual obligations we’re going to see through. We have games that exist on other platforms and we’re going to go support those games.”

When it comes to the future of Elder Scrolls, if you have access to Game Pass, you’ll have access to the sixth entry in the series. We could still be a few years out from release though, so don’t expect to see any further details for quite some time.

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