Bethesda, XBOX Game Studios and the Butterfly Effect
Could we see Game Pass on PlayStation 5?
"Hey XBOX, it's PlayStation... Mind sharing your password?"
It has been a tumultuous six months within the gaming industry. The impact of this ongoing global pandemic has been nothing short of spectacular, in the instance that we’ve seen some magnanimous decisions made that may forever change the way we perceive gaming as we know it; whether it be entertainment, a commodity, or a booming monopoly, the attention it’s getting is only on the rise. With that said, the six month gap between initial negotiations between Microsoft and ZeniMax Media – the parent company of Bethesda – has had gaming media causing a vortex of hyperbole, that includes the almighty notion that XBOX may very well keep Bethesda in captivity for an indefinite period. The lock-and-key model that Big Daddy Phil might impose may have a enigmatic ripple effect, not only for Bethesda but the entire industry as we know it.
The ability to clasp at a major corporation’s established properties, that have founded their legacy across a myriad of platforms, but suddenly pertaining an imposition to a singular one, may be counter-productive for both XBOX and Bethesda in this wild circumstance. Yes, we know XBOX Game Pass available on PC through the Windows Store, but the idea of the service being available on other platforms might not be as far fetched as it seems. If anything, this is a window of opportunity for Mr. Spencer to break down barriers, open that forbidden door and talk turkey with the fine folk at PlayStation. With first party titles already making waves on Nintendo’s handheld-home console hybrid, we could be looking at the next step in XBOX’s revolution in subscription based gaming. Sure it’s not every gamer’s cup of tea, nor is it financially ideal for some but it does raise eyebrows for many interested.
I equate this to “The Butterfly Effect”. Not the movie, its scientific definition;
the idea that small things can have non-linear impacts on a complex system. The concept is imagined with a butterfly flapping its wings and causing a typhoon.
I do think the acquisition of ZeniMax may have a drastic effect, and outlook on many independent studios – and I’m not talking smaller indie studios – going forward. The idea of these major development teams being sold off to the highest bidder is no different to EA’s acquiring Codemasters, but on a grander scale. The difference here is Microsoft’s respective platform being the agenda that many devout Bethesda fans are divided within. One of the most astounding situations in modern gaming. A test bench in polarising and uniting at the forefront. It’s surely on the cards right now for Microsoft to pitch Game Pass to PlayStation and other platforms, but with a potential agreement being made for future Bethesda releases on Sony’s current generation, it may be imperative to the Japanese manufacturer to consider.
Yes, PlayStation are once again dominating the “Console Wars”, with units shipping 3:1 the last I checked, but the Maryland based game studio rides on a legacy with its established series that had all the insights to sell anywhere, but Microsoft lured them in with an enticing $7.5bn USD offer, which to be frank was most definitely more than what ZeniMax may have expected. With the green team’s unlimited resources, it’s not out of the realm of possibilities to see more acquisitions being made this year. With 20 Million Game Pass subscribers at $10USD per month, Microsoft would be making their investment back on their purchase within 2 years, and the potential rise of benefactors may have those digits rise exponentially. But who’s benefitting from this feasible fiasco? Well, everyone if you think about it.
This is not Nintendo Vs. SEGA, and that mentality should not be something that deters development studios or manufacturing companies from talking turkey.
ZeniMax will have more resources than they had prior to their acquisition, meaning games of higher quality and calibre, Microsoft have the right to hold any title developed by Bethesda as an exclusive to XBOX Platforms, or if they truly wanted to get more bang out of their buck, they would look into publishing games directly to PlayStation platforms without a compulsory subscription service. However, it wouldn’t be the end of the world for either company to finally shake hands and have an ongoing partnership to bring those tasty XBOX exclusives over to the blue brand. Halo 5 landing an exclusive 6 to 12 month period on XBOX, before it’s available on PS5 with cross-play compatibility. Okay, that may be a little far fetched – if anything, an entitled gamer’s pipedream – but you catch my drift. This partnership presented possibilities that may shock many but has the potential for a lot promise.
The only factor in this would be PlayStation’s willingness. We’ve seen their reluctance in the past; the idea of online cross-play being neglected or blackballed. But those kind of regressive traits are something expected from a traditionalist company – *scoff the red one scoff* – and should be avoided for public relations sake. The idea is beyond anything comprehensible, or fathomable but it could manifest at a particular moment of need or stress… but the blue brand ain’t sweating this at all. Still sitting on their throne, PlayStation are most definitely not in dire need of any XBOX property, but from a fan’s perspective it would benefit them to mutually set a precipice for the future of this industry. The entire “Console Wars” is passé’. This is not Nintendo Vs. SEGA, and that mentality should not be something that deters development studios or manufacturing companies from talking turkey. Again, it’s a multi-billion dollar entertainment industry with three conglomerates vying for first place each generation, but that could all be put behind them if they weren’t playing a three way game of chicken.
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