When Microsoft purchased Zenimax Media, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks, the biggest question that was asked was, "Will future Bethesda games in existing franchises be Xbox exclusives?" We discussed this possibility a few weeks ago on the show, agreeing that Microsoft's ownership would not limit the release of future entries, especially for The Elder Scrolls and Fallout. This week, Todd Howard hinted that our theory was correct.
In an interview, the Bethesda director and producer on both of the company's high profile series said that it would be hard to imagine Microsoft locking future entries in either franchise behind the Xbox or PC brands. However, he did also state that Microsoft and Bethesda have not fully discussed future plans in detail. On the decision-making process, Howard said,
We do view it, and always have by ourselves, on a case-by-case basis. We'll do that as part of Microsoft as well. They've been pretty open on other platforms and not just within Xbox. This is an outside perspective, but if you go back 10 years at Microsoft, you wouldn't expect them to have a full Office suite on an iPhone either.
The beginning of the response is similar to what Xbox's Phil Spencer said during the announcement of the purchase, stating that they would evaluate each future title individually to determine its availability. But, that is what all studios do with every release. If they didn't, the Final Fantasy games would still be Nintendo exclusives, which would not have been good for the brand. He also discussed the company's business model, saying,
We felt very strongly about their view of access; games for everybody that we can bring to anybody regardless of where they are, what devices they're playing on. We're very, very passionate about that, and at the end of the day we're convinced we'll make better products and get them to more people easily by being part of Xbox as opposed to being just a third party.
Microsoft's business model under CEO Satya Nadella has been to offer the company's products everywhere people already are. It's why Microsoft Office offers some features for iPad Pro that take advantage of the device's unique hardware capabilities, despite having its own Surface tablet line. Plus, after purchasing Mojang, Microsoft expanded the number of platforms Minecraft was available for and fought to make the PlayStation version crossplay capable.
With this business model, it seems incredibly unlikely that they would behave differently on these titles than other game franchises they have acquired.