The truth is finally out. The Elder Scrolls VI will be a “mid-sized” game. As clearly evidenced by Skyim’s lack of popularity, critical acclaim, and five million editions, remakes, ports, and expansions, we can clearly expect the new Elder Scrolls to achieve middle-market success.
At least, that’s what Microsoft would love U.K. regulators to believe. The company’s latest filing to U.K. regulators overseeing the potential acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft makes reference to the upcoming Bethesda game as another title that it would like to make console-exclusive to the Xbox.
In Microsoft’s filing, the Elder Scrolls series is used to hit back at Sony’s multi-faceted arguments about the Call of Duty franchise and the possibility that Microsoft will make the game a console exclusive at some point should it be allowed to acquire Activision Blizzard. Sony had previously cited some Bethesda games as “evidence of prior conduct” by Microsoft in acquiring studios and making their games console-exclusive.
Microsoft, however, claims that games like Elder Scrolls VI aren’t in the same category as Call of Duty or even Minecraft because it falls into the category of “mid-sized games” that Microsoft claims do not afford its company “broad incentives.”
While it’s certainly true that more people play CoD than Skyrim or even The Elder Scrolls Online, the suggestion that the newest game in the series will be “mid-sized” seems farcical at best. Skyrim is one of the best-selling single-player games of all time, and Bethesda has spent the years since its release pumping out new editions and ports of the game, in addition to running ESO. With now years of running a live-service Elder Scrolls game under its belts, does anyone really think that ES6 won’t be Bethesda’s best attempt to shatter every revenue record that Skyrim set to smithereens?
Community members who saw how far Skyrim was stretched certainly don’t seem to agree with Microsoft’s assessment, at any rate.
ES6 might not generate revenue the same way that CoD generates revenue. But lumping one of the most-anticipated games in the industry over the last decade into the category of “mid-sized” seems like a stretch.