The Elder Scrolls 6's Xbox Exclusivity Doesn't Make It a System Seller


Beyond hypothetical arguments regarding the selling power of The Elder Scrolls name alone, there’s also the time factor to consider. We could still be three or more years away from the release of The Elder Scrolls 6, and there’s no telling what the state of the industry/market is going to be at that time. However, in recent years, we have seen companies pivot away from the kind of grand-scale RPGs that Oblivion and Skyrim represent. The success of games like The Outer Worlds (as well as Fallout 4 and many open-world games released in recent years) suggests that there is a void there that isn’t being filled, but we’re back to the point that the landscape has changed since Skyrim.

Whatever success we could have assumed The Elder Scrolls 6 may have enjoyed if it was released in 2016 (the same time gap between Oblivion and Skyrim‘s releases) can’t easily be applied to 2024 (or beyond). There’s also something to be said for the fact that Skyrim has remained in the public consciousness for so long that its success may actually be something of a detriment. That level of hype and expectations previously made Valve wary to seriously pursue Half-Life 3, and it’s also arguably making any serious conversation about the expectations for GTA 6 a bit more complicated. The Elder Scrolls 6 isn’t immune from the negative effects of time and potential overhype.

One interesting way time could be on The Elder Scrolls 6‘s side, though, is when you consider that the Xbox Series X/S may not only be easier to buy by the time that game is released but may also be cheaper than the consoles are now. That could mean that those gamers who are currently considering the PS5 to be their “must-have” next-gen console may be in a better position to buy an Xbox platform by the time the game comes out. Furthermore, the upcoming release of Starfield could give Bethesda a much better indication of which way the winds are blowing and what kind of game The Elder Scrolls 6 needs to be.

Ultimately, the Xbox team is wise to seemingly treat The Elder Scrolls 6 as an Xbox exclusive. It’s an incredibly high-profile game that targets an apparent weakness in the PlayStation’s current lineup and will almost certainly benefit from the attention and resources Microsoft can give it by treating it like a true exclusive. There’s also always been a harmonious relationship between Xbox and the Elder Scrolls franchise since the original Xbox helped elevate Morrowind and bolster its sales, so this is honestly just a logical extension of the series so far as that goes.

Still, there’s something dangerous about living under the assumption that The Elder Scrolls 6 will ultimately mimic Skyrim‘s success and that Microsoft has essentially just secured the exclusive rights to the next Skyrim and all that comes with it. The Elder Scrolls 6 could end up selling a lot of Xbox consoles, but if it does, it’s looking like it will be due to the eventual quality of the game itself rather than the legacy of the series or this level of success that some feel that it is seemingly “owed.”

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