The CMA released arguments from both Sony and Microsoft on why the Activision deal should or should not happen, depending on which massive conglomerate you’re rooting for. Sony is very concerned that Call of Duty will disappear from the PS6, while Microsoft keeps saying that the deal has nothing to do with Call of Duty and everything to do with Candy Crush.
We’ll see what the CMA has to say about all that later, but in the meantime, the UK governing body has published documents from both sides, which are providing us with deep insight into Microsoft’s future plans. And that future might include the Elder Scrolls 6 as an Xbox exclusive.
Starting on page 56 of Microsoft’s argument to the CMA in favor of the Activision merger, the Xbox maker starts talking about The Elder Scrolls 6, which we know to be a long way off. The second specifically talks about what Microsoft considers to be “mid-sized” games, implying that Elder Scrolls 6 might be something Microsoft will make exclusive to its own console (with thanks to Game Developer).
Figure 44 above shows Microsoft’s reasoning. For larger games like Call of Duty and Minecraft, the user base is so large that Microsoft would undoubtedly lose cash overall by making either game an Xbox exclusive. Similarly, smaller games like Fallout 76 and Psychonauts 2 need to find as large an audience as possible to be successful, thus requiring their release on PlayStation to make back their development costs.
But in the middle are games like Starfield and Redfall, which appeal to “dedicated gamers” and are “often single-player.” These games, according to Microsoft, do well as exclusive titles as they provide enough incentive to convince players to actually buy an Xbox (provided they don’t just get ‘em on PC of course).
The argument against The Elder Scrolls going exclusive is of course Skyrim being one of the biggest games of all time–so big that it’s still being regularly re-released for a profit on new platforms. One suspects that Skyrim’s constant re-releasing is specifically done to keep The Elder Scrolls in the minds of players more than a decade after the game’s release and to bank off of Skyrim’s name in potential marketing.
The Elder Scrolls future is still pretty up in the air, just like the merger between Microsoft and Activision. We’ll have to wait and see for both.
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