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Starfield’s Exclusivity Works Against Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard Acquisition


Starfield’s Exclusivity Works Against Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard Acquisition

On: June 22, 2023

There’s a lot of gaming news following Microsoft’s continued journey to finally buy Activision Blizzard. Though the purchase has been approved on many levels, barring certain conditions that Microsoft has to adhere to, there are still forces standing in the way. A surprising one is the fabled space game Starfield, which is set to be one of the biggest releases this year. It will be exclusive to the Xbox and PC platforms, which means that PlayStation players are losing out on such a highly anticipated game. However, according to new FTC documents, this may be a subtle sign of trying to take other games away from PlayStation — a clear mark against the potential merger.

Starfield’s Xbox Exclusivity

Whenever a huge game starts to gain traction, every main platform wants a piece of its pie. Right now, Starfield is serving up quite a large dish, which is being served only to the Xbox and PC crowds. This didn’t sit well with the PlayStation community, with some going as far as to create and sign a petition to make the game exclusive to PS5.

This is the second big Bethesda launch this year after Redfall that won’t be available on PlayStation. And according to PushSquare, this is due to a recent agreement between Bethesda and Microsoft that the latter’s platforms will take priority when it comes to the former’s new releases.

A heavily redacted document from the FTC sheds some light on why this might be bad for Microsoft’s proposed acquisition. Details from the document seem to draw a line between Microsoft keeping Starfield exclusive now, and potentially making Activision Blizzard games exclusive later.

There are many reasons why a game would limit the number of platforms it would be released on, but the main one is contractual. PlayStation hasn’t seen a major Bethesda release on its console since Deathloop came out in 2021. The fact that both Redfall and now Starfield will be exclusive to Microsoft platforms has the PlayStation community fearing a strict precedent.

If Bethesda’s Microsoft agreement already has this kind of effect, there’s a chance that Activision Blizzard will fall under the same terms, and then those titles will become unavailable on the PlayStation. However, one of the recent drafts of the acquisition included a condition to try and prevent this from happening.

It’s unclear when Microsft’s Activision Blizzard acquisition will go through, but PlayStation is clearly concerned about it. With Starfield and Bethesda’s exclusivity to the company, Activision Blizzard IPs might end up following suit.