In a statement on the Activision Blizzard merger, Microsoft said it would have exclusive rights to three Bethesda games in the future, possibly Starfield, Redfall, and Elder Scrolls 6.
Microsoft told the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) about its planned acquisition of Activision Blizzard, which owns Overwatch, World of Warcraft, and Call of Duty. It said that in the future, three Bethesda Games titles, RPG games Starfield, vampire shooter Redfall, and Skyrim sequel The Elder Scrolls 6, outlined the possibility of exclusivity for PC and Xbox.
In early December, the FTC filed an antitrust complaint against the Microsoft-Activision-Blizzard deal, alleging that it could harm consumers and competition in the video game industry. This was followed by a civil suit filed by a group of ten “video gamers” claiming that the deal would harm the video game market.
Microsoft has now responded to the FTC complaint, outlining Bethesda Games’ plans following its 2020 acquisition of ZeniMax Media, the studio’s parent company.
The complaint referring to Microsoft’s
“The complaint referring to Microsoft’s recent acquisition of ZeniMax (a set of game studios acquired in 2020) is not related to this transaction,” Microsoft said of the lawsuit filed by the FTC.” Xbox intends to make three titles that are primarily intended to be played by one person or a small group of people exclusive to Xbox and PC in the future.”
Although the title names have been edited out of the publicly available version of Microsoft’s statement, the space RPG Starfield and the vampire co-op shooter Redfall have already been confirmed as exclusive titles for the company’s platform, and a release date for Starfield is soon expected to be released soon. However, a third “future title” could be Skyrim’s successor, The Elder Scrolls 6. In November 2021, Phil Spencer, Microsoft’s head of gaming, told GQ in an interview that The Elder Scrolls 6″ could be a PC and Xbox exclusive.
“It’s not about punishing other platforms; I fundamentally believe all platforms can continue to grow,” Spencer said. “But for it to launch on Xbox, we want to be able to offer the complete package that we have, and when you think about Elder Scrolls 6, that would be true. When you think about our franchise, that will be true.
Microsoft’s statement to the FTC
Microsoft’s statement to the FTC also mentioned the possibility of Call of Duty becoming a PC and Xbox-exclusive game if the $69 billion Activision Blizzard acquisition is successful.
Microsoft said that “continuing to offer a wide range of Activision games is good business and good for gamers. Paying $68.7 billion to acquire Activision doesn’t make economic sense if it eliminates that revenue stream.” It also would not make sense to degrade the gaming experience and alienate the millions of Call of Duty players who play together on different types of consoles; the reputational damage that Xbox would suffer would not be worth the theoretical economic benefits of taking Call of Duty away from its competitors. . would not be worth the theoretical economic benefit of taking Call of Duty away from its competitors.”
Microsoft further argues that the FTC “cannot meet its burden of showing that consumers will be more disadvantaged by this transaction” and that the remedies outlined in the FTC’s application should be denied.