Sony doesn’t trust Microsoft after Starfield exclusive release

Sony Doesn't Trust Microsoft After Starfield's Exclusive Release

Microsoft and Sony have always made their respective platforms, Xbox and PlayStation, very attractive thanks to their exclusive content. The problem only came to light when Microsoft started acquiring other game development companies that were available on most platforms, sparking a firestorm. As a result, Microsoft is trying to make deals with other companies to keep the titles it just acquired available on most platforms. However, Sony doesn't take the bait because it tends to break promises and trust.

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Microsoft does not keep its promises

The big story of the moment is that Microsoft is trying to acquire Activision Blizzard, immediately after demanding ZeniMax Media and its subsidiary Bethesda. Before the acquisition was finalized, Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox, indicated that there was no question of making Bethesda games exclusive to Xbox, but that they would work “on a case by case” when this would involve managing multi-format and multi-platform releases, and that certain Bethesda games would continue to be released on other platforms, while emphasizing that this would not be the case for all.

It was later revealed that Redfall and Starfield, two upcoming Bethesda games, were only given Xbox-specific launch dates, meaning they will release as exclusives. Experts believed that the upcoming The Elder Scrolls 6 would suffer the same fate, something Bethesda's Todd Howard believed to be impossible. However, a year after settling the merge, Spencer says he thinks the same will happen for The Elder Scrolls 6.

When all was said and done, Spencer walked back his previous statement, admitting that the deal was actually about giving customers “great games exclusive” to platforms that have access to Game Pass, not all platforms . Unfortunately for Xbox, Sony is now using this statement as proof that Microsoft has already gone back on its word.

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Microsoft acquires Activision Blizzard

Microsoft is trying to acquire Activision Blizzard, the gaming studio behind a popular cross-platform gaming franchise, Call of Duty. For now, the only obstacle is regulatory approval, not that of another big platform. However, at least publicly, Microsoft has done everything it can to appease everyone.

Microsoft has reached a legally binding agreement with Nintendo to keep Call of Duty on their platform, at least for the next ten years. He cannot reverse course without exposing himself to legal action. Microsoft offers the same deal to Sony, but the latter does not take the bait, believing that it does not trust Microsoft to keep its word.

Sony has made a statement to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) regarding the Activision takeover, explicitly referencing the situation with Bethesda as evidence that Microsoft is prepared to break its public promises. “While not a violation of a behavioral commitment, Microsoft's conduct in connection with the ZeniMax acquisition provides additional evidence of why a behavioral commitment should be approached with caution.” .

The statement also highlights that Microsoft told the European Commission that it had no reason to prevent ZeniMax games from remaining on a wide variety of platforms, even saying that it encouraged it because it is good for the gaming ecosystem. Yet instead of leaving the games on the platforms, they make limited-time deals to ensure that, meaning after those ten years they might change their minds. Time will tell if Sony will relent and accept the deal. Either way, this deal will only matter if Microsoft manages to acquire Activision Blizzard.

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  • Microsoft is trying to acquire Activision Blizzard like they did with Bethesda and ZeniMax Media.
  • Microsoft is proposing to Sony to keep Activision Blizzard games, such as Call of Duty, on PlayStation. However, Sony does not believe that Microsoft will keep its promise.
  • Microsoft walked back what it had previously said, initially saying that Bethesda games would not be Xbox exclusives. Yet all new Bethesda games only have release dates on Xbox.

What do you think of the Sony-Microsoft exclusivity argument?