According to documents filed as part of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) case filed in the agency’s attempt to stop the Microsoft-Activision Blizzard deal, it looks like the next Elder Scrolls game is not expected until 2026 at least, and skipping PlayStation.
Platform exclusivity got a lot of attention since Microsoft announced the company’s intention to acquire Activision Blizzard for nearly $70 billion. Call of Duty was one of the often-repeated cases when it came to efforts by Sony and by regulatory agencies seeking to halt the deal. Axios’ Stephen Totilo spotted the latest tidbit in reviewing FTC case files.
From Microsoft's responses in the FTC vs Microsoft case. Elder Scrolls VI listed here as Xbox and PC and releasing 2026 or later.During testimony at the hearing, Xbox's Phil Spencer went on to say the game was at least five years out and platforms were technically TBD pic.twitter.com/Kto9bE5U8C— Stephen Totilo (@stephentotilo) September 18, 2023
There is a chart that shows release dates for certain games from development teams that are now under Microsoft ownership due to its acquisition of Bethesda. Some, like Ghostwire: Tokyo and Deathloop, were released on PlayStation and PC under a pre-existing contract pre-dating the acquisition. They skipped Xbox because Bethesda had deals for platform exclusivity and Microsoft honored them.
Live service titles like Fallout 76 and The Elder Scrolls Online will continue on their supported platforms. Starfield, is of course, the first major title since the Bethesda acquisition to be Xbox and PC exclusive. It isn’t really surprising that the next main Elder Scrolls title looks slated for the same fate. Microsoft's acquisition of Bethesda definitely brought some conversations about exclusivity and this is a natural extension, especially after Starfield and its launch and reception.
Totilo also cites another document from a year ago where Microsoft says the next Elder Scrolls “may be released only on Xbox and PC”.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, has already been memed to death as to how many platforms it has launched on and in different releases since it first came out 12 years ago. The next game is still at least several years off, so all of this is potential for now. but we are seeing console exclusives (and timed exclusives) being prevalent for some huge releases like Starfield and the Spider-Man games for PlayStation.