Starfield was very nearly a PlayStation exclusive, says Xbox boss

CEO of Microsoft Gaming Phil Spencer reveals Starfield was almost PlayStation exclusive, and fans lost their minds.

Starfield was very nearly a PlayStation exclusive, says Xbox boss

Xbox boss Phil Spencer has revealed that Starfield was very nearly a PlayStation exclusive. Speaking at a recent FTC hearing, Spencer described the concern he felt that Bethesda’s next RPG could “skip our platform”. This concern was so great, it seems, that Microsoft decided to acquire the developers of Starfield and bring the game exclusively to Xbox and PC.

This unexpected revelation has upset a number of PlayStation fans, but others in the Starfield community have commended Microsoft’s decision to make Starfield exclusive to Xbox and PC.

The American Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which is tasked with regulating competition in the markets, is currently scrutinizing Microsoft’s planned acquisition of Activision-Blizzard.

At the June 23 hearing, Spencer explained that Sony had previously gone to great lengths to acquire exclusivity rights to major game releases. He claimed that Sony would often pay developers and publishers in order to keep games exclusive to PlayStation, including Bethesda titles Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo.

The potential for Sony to make Starfield a PS5 exclusive was something Phil Spencer and Microsoft couldn’t afford, with Spencer stating “when we heard that Starfield was potentially also going to end up skipping Xbox, we can’t be in a position as a third-place console where we fall further behind on our content ownership.”

As a result, Microsoft acquired Zenimax, the parent company of Bethesda, and thus made Starfield a Microsoft console exclusive.

In the wake of Spencer’s comments, Xbox fans have joked about how far Microsoft is willing to go to secure a game as good as Starfield.

As Twitter user @BeastOfTruth phrased it when the FTC asked why Starfield was an Xbox exclusive, “PlayStation was trying to buy off the developers to keep the game off of Xbox, so we bought the whole company.”

Fans flooded Twitter in a frenzy of comments about Xbox’s move against Sony.

“Microsoft just played the ultimate power move by acquiring Bethesda and making Starfield their exclusive. Sorry PS5 players, but Xbox just leveled up!” – @CM1169836127927

“Why is it that people get up in arms about xbox being able to have exclusives, but then turn around and laugh when xbox has no exclusives?” – @Frosty072297

“Microsoft is jealous and mad at Sony for having better exclusives for years… so they decided to do something about [it].” – @OneNeverlasting

All of this points to just how huge Starfield is going to be, having been highly desired by both Microsoft and Sony for years. How Microsoft will fare in the FTC’s hearing, as originally covered by The Verge, remains to be seen. Fortunately, Starfield remains on track for its September 6, 2023 release, and September 1, 2023 Early Access with a pre order.

Though Starfield might not be available on the PlayStation, it is available on the Xbox Game Pass, and potentially the Steam Deck.

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Tim has sunk at least a thousand hours into Bethesda games over the years, and has now completed Starfield with over 200 hours in-game. So, if he's not busy updating our Starfield weapons database, he’s eagerly installing the best Starfield mods and DLC, or planning his dream outpost.