• Hey, guest user. Hope you're enjoying NeoGAF! Have you considered registering for an account? Come join us and add your take to the daily discourse.

News Phil Spencer further clarifies the nature of Bethesda exclusivity

Thicc Team Six

Gold Member
May 18, 2020
751
1,801
600
I want to break this down because it was frankly a dumb question and I don’t think Phil liked it-I can’t say I blame him. Totilo, like a lot of game journalists, is out of his league asking questions about business.

“Is it possible to recoup a $7.5 billion investment if you don’t sell Elder Scrolls VI on the PlayStation?” I asked.

“Yes,” Spencer quickly replied.

Then he paused.
This parts simple of course. There Isn’t any reason that they have to release on PlayStation. They’ll “recoup” the investment. Bethesda is bringing in plenty of operating income. It’s not like $7.5 B just evaporated. Everything they acquired is now on their balance sheet. Part of the acquisition will be depreciated etc. It would be dumb to imagine that they aren’t going to “recoup” the cash...it’s an unintelligent question. When a company makes a acquisition they do some financial analysis. They have a good idea of what the ROI is on the Bethesda acquisition. When you build that model it is a comparative model-what if we sit on the cash, what if we borrow the cash, what if we invest in something else, etc. You model all these scenarios and compare them. For Microsoft $7.5B on Bethesda is obviously generating more income than doing something else with that cash. It isn’t about recouping it’s about generating more income.

“I don’t want to be flip about that,” he added. “This deal was not done to take games away from another player base like that. Nowhere in the documentation that we put together was: ‘How do we keep other players from playing these games?’ We want more people to be able to play games, not fewer people to be able to go play games.
This part is Phil’s boiler plate response and is an Obi-Wan “from a certain point of view” statement. The acquisition isn’t so much about taking away value from PlayStation as it is adding value to Game Pass. Microsoft wants original content on Game Pass-they would acquire a Nintendo or PC only developer if there was an opportunity. It isn’t so much about “punishing” the competition as it is adding something unique to their offering. The “they were already getting these games” responses are missing the point. This is about adding to the value proposition of Xbox. Not only that but we saw the Sony deals on Deathloop and Ghostwire. There wasn’t anything preventing Amazon or Google from acquiring Bethesda either. It isn’t fair to assume they were “getting all these games anyways”.

But I’ll also say in the model—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.”
This is where Phil really gets into his issue with the question itself. The focus is on Game Pass and Xbox. These are profitable studios. There isn’t any need to look to other platforms to generate income. The bit about “making the deal work...whatever that means” is Phil taking issue with Totilo’s fantasy that there is some huge risk there. There isn’t some magic rule that these studios will not be profitable without PlayStation or that they have to return $7.5B to Microsoft in the next year. Microsoft did the analysis on the acquisition-they wouldn’t have made it if they didn’t forecast a positive ROI.

Can Microsoft release Fallout 5 on PlayStation? Certainly but the idea that they made this acquisition with the assumption that they had to release on PlayStation in order for it to be profitable is seriously naive. The idea that Microsoft wouldn’t be able to “recoup” the $7.5 is off base and would be insulting to someone in Phil’s shoes-I can see why the question would be irritating.
 
Last edited:

MrFunSocks

Gold Member
Jul 9, 2020
1,906
3,085
465
That`s pretty simple.

If PS5 have a similar marketshare as the PS4, those games are almost certain to be multiplat, maybe with time-exclusive for the xbox depending on the xbox consoles numbers.

If the xbox has a lead, it`s the oposite, with those games being exclusive for sure.
Oh so they released all their first party games on the PS4 then did they?
 

Tschumi

Member
Jul 4, 2020
1,126
1,176
430
I think what I'm picking up on here is that the parent company of xBox made a business acquisition of Bethesda, which i guess means selling it to everyone it was sold to before, since they were buying their economics, not their games.. and the xBox guy maybe had his own, game oriented ideas about it.. and he's struggling to negotiate the difference~

Ah well.. i don't think I'll ever play another Bethesda game unless TES6 is a real throw back.. which i doubt.. do this doesn't mean much to me.
 
  • LOL
Reactions: MrFunSocks

Ultraslick

Neo Member
Nov 6, 2018
21
21
110
All Bethesda games, good or bad- will just be dropped into the game pass bucket.
Sales don’t matter because they in essence will not exist.

Let’s hope game pass developers continue to strive for great games to be made though.

I don’t see the motivation from a development perspective though.

Would be smart for Microsoft to tie profit sharing to review scores or something.
 
Jul 29, 2013
2,520
4,685
950
US
Your only options will be Xbox, Xbox PC, Steam PC, and xCloud on Android(Apple soon). Maybe a few bones thrown to Switch in the long run. Putting games on PlayStation without Sony reciprocating and allowing GP on PS would defeat the purpose of the comprehensive buyout from my perspective. I see these games as the foundation of Game Pass, you don't waste a chance like this.
 
May 26, 2014
486
96
435
Would timed exclusives be a viable option on all of Zenimax products for Microsoft? Have the first place to play benefits with the eventual extra funds from being able to charge full price for games on the PS5 6 months to a year down the road? Win win or do I have a blind spot in this theory?
This would be the best option for MS in terms of maximizing profits while incentivizing their own platforms. I'd say they will probably look at things on a title-by-title basis and decide if/when to publish versions for PS5 and Switch. Obviously the Xbox family including PC, Gamepass, and Xcloud will be their priority. But there will doubtlessly be evaluation of publishing on rival platforms. Money is the biggest motivator. The way Microsoft's platforms and services perform sales wise vs. Competitors will dictate a lot. Some games may go to other platforms at a later date. Some may never go.

Looking through the Zenimax catalog, the only games I buy are DooM and Wolfenstein. I would like those titles to come to PS5. If they don't, I can play them on my PC so I won't be cut too deeply over this either way.
 

Dick Jones

Member
Mar 7, 2015
1,343
3,035
710
Delta City
Regarding any contract not signed with Sony, the only games that are also PS will be Elder Scrolls online or Fallout online. Other than that fuck every other system not PC or Xbox.
 

Eternal21

Member
Nov 14, 2013
95
177
420
So in the unlikely event they decide not to release them on the bigger platform, you can still play them on your PC? I don't see a problem with this. Just like in the past generations, Playstation + PC remains the best combo.
 
Last edited:
  • LOL
Reactions: CatLady

dvdvideo

Report me for SonyGAF. SonyBots, fanboys > 04/27
Sep 15, 2005
889
662
1,615
There is absolutely zero evidence here that big games won’t come to PlayStation, despite the echo chamber effect here. It’s all corporate, parsed-language, which is fine and expected. All that’s being said here is that he doesn’t have to put big games on PlayStation to have the deal “make sense”. This is not the same as saying “These games will never come to other platforms”.
Seriously, he just came straight out and said they will be exclusive, read it again. And if you don't see it still, read it a second or 3rd time.
 

dvdvideo

Report me for SonyGAF. SonyBots, fanboys > 04/27
Sep 15, 2005
889
662
1,615
Well how is anybody supposed to play the games then? What are the odds that anybody owns at least one of those devices?

They should make them exclusive to the PS5 so everyone can play them.
Right, cus ms didn't sell 50 million consoles this gen and every single consumer bought a PlayStation. Please.

Everyone was crying about no xbox exclusives, they went out and bought some.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MrFunSocks

Atrus

Member
Jul 16, 2007
4,434
559
1,245
Will it come to Playstation?

The easiest and most straightforward answer is “No”.

Every other response is obfuscation because he doesn’t know or is reluctant to tip his hand and reveal that it’s a “Yes”.

Either way the point is moot. Bethesda games are always best on the PC and if you don’t or can’t, then you should.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Jagz

Kagey K

Member
Dec 18, 2013
8,338
10,869
915
Right, cus ms didn't sell 50 million consoles this gen and every single consumer bought a PlayStation. Please.

Everyone was crying about no xbox exclusives, they went out and bought some.

I thought the post itself was over the top enough that it didn‘t need the /s at the end.
 
  • Like
Reactions: CatLady

Kortan

Neo Member
Oct 25, 2017
14
44
185
Its more Xbox fans didn't gain any games they were not getting anyway. They just took games away from others. It is good for game pass though
It's also a defensive move. Sony had already moneyhatted two tittle and was actively trying to moneyhat Starfield
 
  • Fire
Reactions: CatLady

Gavon West

Member
Jan 12, 2018
2,100
2,289
375
He didn't clarify anything. He danced around the question. Do they have to put those games on other systems to make back their money? No they don't and that's what his answer was. BUT that isn't saying they won't put them on PS5. I don't see what is so hard about coming out and giving a straight "No these games are exclusive to our ecosystem" answer that leaves no doubt. Phil keeps dancing around it and that is why people still think it may happen.
Jesus. Is it really hard to understand why the man isnt giving a more conrete answer? Let me help you:

He wont give a more concrete answer because Zenimax isnt fully purchased yet. The deal wont go through until next year. Still, make no mistake; this is now a first party publisher.

Later in the interview Phil was asked if possibly Nintendo would still get ports of some the games. Phil goes on to mention that its not really a sustainable business model unless he was able to have a Live and Gamepass experience in order to do it.

In other words.....It aint happening chief! Hoping Bethesda games go to other competing platforms is bound to end up in disappointment.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Bernkastel

MrFunSocks

Gold Member
Jul 9, 2020
1,906
3,085
465
I think what I'm picking up on here is that the parent company of xBox made a business acquisition of Bethesda, which i guess means selling it to everyone it was sold to before, since they were buying their economics, not their games.. and the xBox guy maybe had his own, game oriented ideas about it.. and he's struggling to negotiate the difference~

Ah well.. i don't think I'll ever play another Bethesda game unless TES6 is a real throw back.. which i doubt.. do this doesn't mean much to me.
Microsoft aren’t in the buying a game publisher for revenue business lol. They wouldn’t have bought zenimax unless Phil Spencer told them he wants to. Video games are small fries to Microsoft as a company. Look at the valuation of Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft. Now tell me why Microsoft would ever consider buying a game publisher if not to give their Xbox business an advantage.
 

MrFunSocks

Gold Member
Jul 9, 2020
1,906
3,085
465
It's also a defensive move. Sony had already moneyhatted two tittle and was actively trying to moneyhat Starfield
I don’t think it’s defensive, I think it’s a big dick power show basically. “You want to money hat a few Bethesda games to stop us from getting them? Hold my drink, I’ll show you how it’s done “.
 
Last edited:

Gavon West

Member
Jan 12, 2018
2,100
2,289
375
I wouldnt be surprised if some games come to Switch, in fact i'm 99% certain it was Switch Phil was on about with his 'case by case basis'.
I wouldve agreed when the deal was announced -- Nintendo at best. But after this interview, it doesnt sound like thats gonna happen either. If Nintendo or Sony wont allow Live or GP, he's not really interested. Cant say I blame the guy, really.
 

Hix

Gold Member
Jul 24, 2011
2,800
2,217
980
Belfast, NI
I think I'll survive without another Fallout 76 or ESO.
The Elder Scrolls, Starfield, Doom, Prey, Dishonored, Rage, The Evil Within, Quake, Fallout, Wolfenstein, you'd be surprised just how many games are suddenly not going to PlayStation with just one acquisition.

You can always get an Xbox or play them on PC or mobile of course.
 

Gavon West

Member
Jan 12, 2018
2,100
2,289
375
Unless there is more than what OP quoted, he answered the question directly, but dodged the issue altogether. All he said was that he could make the money back without PS5 sales. But that won't stop some people from getting really excited about console exclusivity until the day comes when Phil says we never promised that and don't want to take games away like we have said all along.
I GUARANTEE he wont come out and say anything in the vein of this. The fall out (pun intended) would be too great for the already established fanbase. He's going to move in the direction that benefits the fans and welcomes more. Not go backwards. A comment like the one you mentioned would be self imploding, weaken the brand and risk loosing more fans, or not really retaining many more than they currently have. Like, seriously, why buy a publisher and help the competition that kicked your ass last gen, do it again??

Not a chance.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: CrustyBritches

lastmessiah

Member
May 14, 2020
1,084
2,273
410
Between a $300 series X (probably $250 by 2021) xcloud on your mobile and PC....who is bitching? You can play these literally anywhere. Wouldn't be the case if Sony, Google or Amazon aquired Zeni
And with the acquisition of Bethesda, MS now has Orion which will undoubtedly be rolled into xCloud. I've heard good things about Orion and how it could be a major step forward for game streaming.
 
  • Thoughtful
Reactions: Dolomite

MrFunSocks

Gold Member
Jul 9, 2020
1,906
3,085
465
All that gamepass talk and i still can`t figure out from a industry stand point, how this can a viable model.

From a consumer, short term POV, it`s great, of course.
Really? You can’t understand how getting people in to your ecosystem with a recurring revenue stream and then making 30% of every game they buy plus accessories etc is viable?

game pass itself is not meant to be profitable. Game pass however will make more than it loses back to Xbox through ecosystem lock in.

Selling consoles isn’t profitable. What those consoles allow people to buy is what makes it worthwhile. Game pass is the same.
 

Ozrimandias

Member
Jun 21, 2018
867
974
400
I didn't quite understand what Phil was trying to say, anyway, I think the deal or the acquisition of Microsoft is very good, Zenimax has studios that are capable of delivering good games, ID Software comes with a very good footing to deliver another remarkable delivery of Doom. Arkane the same. Bethesda is another tale, it has a very loyal fan base and "could" deliver a game that sell millions. For me, I'm not interested, I was interested in Fallout but from New Vegas, it comes in free fall. Elder Scroll has never caught my eye.

I tend to think that actually they gonna decide on a case by case like:

- Elder Scroll VI: 0% probability that goes to PS5
- Doom 3: 40% probability of going to PS5 after a year of exclusivity
- A new Fallout: 40% probability of going to PS5 after a year of exclusivity
- Starfield: 0% probability that goes to PS5
 
  • LOL
Reactions: MrFunSocks

iHaunter

Member
Sep 6, 2015
1,682
1,172
525
The Elder Scrolls, Starfield, Doom, Prey, Dishonored, Rage, The Evil Within, Quake, Fallout, Wolfenstein, you'd be surprised just how many games are suddenly not going to PlayStation with just one acquisition.

You can always get an Xbox or play them on PC or mobile of course.
We'll see if they do a good job. The latest Wolfenstein was atrociously bad. ES6 is still going to be using the Creation Engine. Dishonored was a niche flop. It's hard to know what contracts were already signed for game distribution. Sony still has exclusive rights to Deathloop and co. not because Microsoft is nice, but because they have a contract. Xbox is known to heavily misuse their studios. I'm curious if they'll try to intervene or just leave them be. It's too early to state either way, but I don't think they'll do it.
 
Last edited:
  • LOL
Reactions: MrFunSocks

Dolomite

Gold Member
May 14, 2020
1,071
2,191
595
All that gamepass talk and i still can`t figure out from a industry stand point, how this can a viable model.

From a consumer, short term POV, it`s great, of course.
Currently 15 million subs
$10-$15 monthly per sub
$100,000,000-$150,000,000 a month from Gamepass alone.
1.2 - 1.8 Billion a yr alone from Gamepass subs. Not including console sales or game purchases
 

njean777

Member
Mar 12, 2009
9,946
417
1,025
Currently 15 million subs
$10-$15 monthly per sub
$100,000,000-$150,000,000 a month from Gamepass alone.
1.2 - 1.8 Billion a yr alone from Gamepass subs. Not including console sales or game purchases
smart people got three years for a dollar, so that is not everybody paying 10-15$ a month. I paid 1$ for three years worth. Do I think everybody di that? Probably not, but a lot did.
 
Last edited:
  • Empathy
Reactions: MrFunSocks

The Alien

Member
Feb 10, 2018
1,367
1,555
380
I think Phil has been somewhat clear that future Bethesda games will be exclusive to GamePass (XBox, PC).

If Sony and Nintendo want to put GamePass on their platform (which they wont), then they can have those games.

I expect Phil to make it extremely lear once the Bethesda deal is finalized in Q1 2021.
 
Apr 17, 2008
970
27
995
This may be a stupid question but here goes. Does anyone think it's possible that Xbox could bring gamepass via a browser app to PlayStation? Kinda similar to what Xbox is proposing to do in order to bring Gamepass to iOS?
 

Warablo

Member
May 15, 2013
2,172
158
595
Explain to me why Gamepass is not on Switch. It would be logical given how open Nintendo was with cross play and xbox login on Switch, long before Sony even considered it.

I need to understand why Microsoft wants to destroy their own platforms, because I'm too stupid to understand it apparently.
Easy, all that money that would be going to Sony would be going right into Microsoft's pocket with no effort at all. Same reason Apple is being combative about allowing Xcloud/Game Pass on their store. They want money, not Microsoft.

I will say, that this method might look stupid, once all those Zenimax developers start pumping out games.
 
Last edited:

Tmack

Neo Member
Sep 23, 2020
33
36
110
Currently 15 million subs
$10-$15 monthly per sub
$100,000,000-$150,000,000 a month from Gamepass alone.
1.2 - 1.8 Billion a yr alone from Gamepass subs. Not including console sales or game purchases
About the same revenue that they would get anyway with gold.
Revenue that they have to share a big chunk with game developers.
A billion in revenue is what some games alone make.
If gamepass gets too good, that will ultimately hurt third party/non gamepass games sales on xbox ecosystem.
 

devilNprada

Member
May 2, 2019
624
729
330
Can Microsoft release Fallout 5 on PlayStation? Certainly but the idea that they made this acquisition with the assumption that they had to release on PlayStation in order for it to be profitable is seriously naive. The idea that Microsoft wouldn’t be able to “recoup” the $7.5 is off base and would be insulting to someone in Phil’s shoes-I can see why the question would be irritating.
OH please

You act like they've never lost billions on a lost cause... Windows phones cough cough...
 
  • Like
Reactions: MrFunSocks

Hendrick's

Member
Jan 7, 2014
7,415
10,484
785
Well the same logic would apply to Minecraft, and that's not been the case. I don't blame people for asking questions, considering how unusual MS's strategy has been in terms of exclusives hitting other systems.
Sorry, much different. Different strategy, different team, and that game was already on those platforms. It would have been horrible optics if MS took MC away from young kids, it's primary demographic, not to mention it's educational applications.
 
Last edited:
  • Thoughtful
Reactions: 93xfan

DavidGzz

Gold Member
Jan 7, 2018
1,753
1,756
585
Sorry, didn’t mean to imply *you* were a fanboy, I should’ve been more clear. Your posts don’t strike me as such. I was speaking in general terms; I just meant that businesses don’t care about what people think on Internet forums — they focus on profit.
Yes, profit. How much more money does MS gain from a consumer paying them $15 a month for 5 years over selling that same person 3-4 games on a Playstation over the course of a generation where Sony sees a good portion of the cut? Let's say MS makes $40 from that Sony sale which is probably being generous. $160 for 4 games. ESVI, Doom Next, Fallout 5, and Arcanes next game. That's IF that person is interested in paying full price for all of those games. Now take that same guy spending $15 a month for 5 years. That is $900. A difference of $740. Now multiply that by a 10 million potential new subs over the next couple of years. They gained 5 million new Game Pass members in 5 months so that isn't out of the question, it's probably a low estimate.

You can quickly see how MS will recoup the 7.5 billion WITHOUT Sony.


About the same revenue that they would get anyway with gold.
Now, why would a Sony only console owner be paying for Gold? You think maybe the Zenimax deal can bring people into the Xbox Ecosystem and create a Game Pass sub out of someone who previously had no intention of being one? Hmmmm


smart people got three years for a dollar, so that is not everybody paying 10-15$ a month. I paid 1$ for three years worth. Do I think everybody di that? Probably not, but a lot did.

So who paid for the 3 years of Gold? Also, a very small percentage of Game Pass owners did the $1 deal(I can't know for sure but going by my group of friends, I am the only one not paying month to month). Savvy forum members are a rare breed. And guess what, it still cost them $50-$60 a year for Gold on top of that $1 so MS still makes bank.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Plantoid