The recent purchase of ZeniMax by Microsoft has had clear implications for cross-platform game releases, suggesting that some gamers may be deprived of significant new releases. In a recent examination by a lawyer from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), in an attempt to prevent the Microsoft-Activision Blizzard merger, Bethesda’s Vice President Pete Hines disclosed that a previously agreed deal between Disney and ZeniMax for the distribution of MachineGames’ Indiana Jones game on multiple consoles was altered after Microsoft’s acquisition, making it solely available on Xbox.
The FTC has also speculated that Starfield, Bethesda’s ambitious sci-fi project, was on its way to the PlayStation 5 prior to the Microsoft takeover. It was previously reported by Bloomberg that Bethesda canceled the PlayStation version of Redfall, a vampire shooter game that received a lukewarm response.
Hines ascribes the exclusivity of the Indiana Jones game to the conditions of the Disney license. He states that due to a significant amount of feedback from Disney on the project, which shortened the development timeline, the game was made an Xbox exclusive. This strategy, he believes, would maintain the project’s trajectory while providing clearer direction. Other games like Starfield and Redfall are Bethesda’s original creations.
Despite reaching out, we have yet to receive a comment from Bethesda. In 2021, Xbox head Phil Spencer expressed that Microsoft’s acquisition of ZeniMax would result in “great exclusive games”. However, some games such as Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo, which were already under development, would still be released on PlayStation due to existing contractual agreements.
This revelation doesn’t necessarily solidify FTC’s attempts to block Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard. However, it does raise concerns as it implies that some gamers might be deprived of highly anticipated games that were initially planned for their preferred consoles. While Microsoft has pledged to continue releasing Call of Duty on multiple platforms for the foreseeable future to appease regulators, these assurances may fall flat if there are ongoing worries regarding other exclusive titles.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Microsoft’s ZeniMax Acquisition
What effect has Microsoft’s acquisition of ZeniMax had on cross-platform releases?
Microsoft’s acquisition of ZeniMax has altered the cross-platform release plans for several major games. Specifically, the Indiana Jones game, originally planned for multiple consoles, is now an Xbox exclusive.
What is the significance of the Disney license to the Indiana Jones game exclusivity?
The Disney license played a significant role in the decision to make the Indiana Jones game an Xbox exclusive. Disney’s extensive feedback on the project resulted in shortened development time, and making it an Xbox exclusive provided a clearer direction for the game.
Are there any other games impacted by the Microsoft-ZeniMax acquisition?
Yes, the FTC believes that Bethesda’s Starfield, initially aimed for the PlayStation 5, and Redfall had their plans altered due to the acquisition. However, games like Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo are still set to be released on PlayStation due to pre-existing contractual obligations.
Will Microsoft’s acquisition of ZeniMax limit the availability of new releases on other platforms?
While it’s not certain, the move has implications that suggest gamers on other platforms may miss out on high-profile games that were previously expected to be released on their consoles of choice.
Is Microsoft planning to continue releasing games on multiple platforms despite the ZeniMax acquisition?
Microsoft has pledged to release Call of Duty on multiple platforms for the foreseeable future. However, concerns remain about other exclusive titles in light of the recent changes with the Indiana Jones game and others.