Leading up to the Xbox + Bethesda Showcase at E3, the biggest hype surrounding the event was about Starfield. The upcoming Bethesda space RPG was announced prior to the Xbox acquisition and has been rumored to be exclusive to Xbox hardware.
Fans didn’t have to wait long for their answer to the never-ending conversation as Starfield was the first segment of the conference. In the final moments of that segment, it was revealed that Starfield would be exclusive to Xbox and PC.
Following the conference fans of other platforms, mainly PlayStation, voiced their complaints on social media about the reveal. Claiming that exclusives aren’t great for the industry and many stating their plans to never buy a Bethesda game ever again.
The strong reaction to the news sparked a response from Senior Vice President of Marketing for Bethesda, Pete Hines. Hines went out to apologize to upset gamers for the Starfield exclusivity. Not long after Hines’ apology to PlayStation gamers, Head of Marketing for Xbox, Aaron Greenberg stated that he wasn’t sorry.
Greenberg has the correct response. Nobody should be sorry about Starfield being exclusive to Xbox and PC platforms.
Exclusivity Isn’t A New Thing
Exclusivity isn’t a new aspect of the video game industry.
Many game franchises have had a preferred platform to be published on since the early history of video games. It has been a more popular topic in the past 15 years as both PlayStation and Xbox have shared many of the same third-party games, but the so-called ‘console wars’ were based around the console’s exclusive titles.
PlayStation has always been strong with their exclusive titles thanks to their own franchises such as Uncharted, Ratchet and Clank, and most recently, The Last of Us.
Xbox also had its own exclusive titles from the Halo franchise to Gears of War.
Exclusivity has always been the main driving decision for consumers and a strategy for consoles’ to get the upper hand.
In the past few years, Xbox has turned the dial-up as they have been purchasing multiple studios, bolstering their first-party line-up, and making a statement as to why Xbox is the best place to play games.
Sony, on the other hand, has a powerhouse first-party line-up thanks to their incredible development studios. PlayStation has acquired outside studios in the past, but it’s due to the company’s previous working relationship with the studio that they are so successful.
A prime example of this is Insomniac Games.
While Insomniac created Spyro, Ratchet and Clank and the Resistance franchise for PlayStation, they also were the developer of Sunset Overdrive, which was an exclusive title for the Xbox One.
What makes the Starfield situation a unique one, is the fact that Bethesda titles have always been on multiple platforms.
Bethesda has created several iconic franchises that helped define console generations. Games like Skyrim, Doom, Fallout, and now Starfield have defined consoles for many players, and limiting them to just Xbox and PC might restrict their impact on the gaming world.
End the Console Wars!
Starfield is exclusive to Xbox and PC, but for the PlayStation fans that are upset about the title not being available on the PlayStation 5, this might be the time to end the childish console wars.
In the past few years, PlayStation has been against the new push in the gaming industry of cross-platform play.
Games like Fortnite and Rocket League pushed the envelope when it came to playing with friends on multiple platforms. While platforms like Xbox, Nintendo, and PC were very open to having their players mingle together in an online lobby, Sony had to be convinced and even paid to make the jump.
It was revealed in the recent court Epic v Apple reportings that Epic had to pay a fee to Sony to allow Fortnite players on other platforms to play with gamers in the PlayStation ecosystem.
Xbox on the other hand is on the opposite side of the spectrum.
Anyone Can Play Starfield!
For the past few years, Xbox has been all hands on deck so anyone can play their games.
Through initiatives like Play Anywhere, which allows your one purchase of an Xbox game to be playable on PC as well, to Phil Spencer wanting Game Pass to be on as many devices as possible, Xbox wants you to play these games.
Starting with the new Xbox Series X and S consoles, it is cheaper than ever to enter the Xbox ecosystem.
The Xbox Series S paired with a Game Pass subscription is all you need to play the best first-party Xbox games, along with some featured games from third-party studios, and incredible indie games that you wouldn’t have tried out elsewhere.
One huge aspect of Xbox’s strategy this time around is xCloud.
Cloud gaming hasn’t had the best origin story recently.
Google Stadia was the first major cloud gaming service to hit the mainstream. Due to a lack of exclusive games and a confusing structure on how to play and own games, Stadia wasn’t the program that made cloud gaming a household service.
Project xCloud is trying to change the narrative on cloud gaming.
Besides the first-party library being playable through the cloud, several third-party games have also been made available.
Games like Destiny, Outriders, and MLB The Show are all able to play through xCloud, with many more to come in the future.
One of the major games coming to xCloud is Starfield.
You don’t need to own an Xbox console or a powerful PC to play Starfield. Take out your mobile device and subscribe to Game Pass and you will be able to play the newest Xbox first-party games.
Playing a game like Starfield on your mobile device or tablet isn’t the best way to play the ambitious title, but you will be able to play it, granted you have incredible wifi or cellular connection.
For just $15 a month, you will not only be able to play Starfield but any other game available on Game Pass. In the future, xCloud will be expanding to other devices. Game Pass will be made available on Smart TVs, and streaming devices.
An Xbox dongle that you can simply plug in and immediately start playing the expansive library of Game Pass games has been rumored for a long time as well.
While being loyal to your favorite console brand may be important to some, it shouldn’t hold you back from playing games that you may be excited about. Thanks to the open approach to gaming that Xbox is taking, it is very easy and painless to expand your potential gaming library.
If PlayStation fanboys can pay $15 a month for the Game Pass subscription, they will not have to seek an apology for Starfield not being available for play on their favorite system.