In a recent court case between the Federal Trade Commission and Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, court documents revealed Microsoft Gaming’s CFO Tim Stuart estimated that Starfield, the highly anticipated RPG from Bethesda, could have garnered over 10 million sales on PlayStation alone. However, to the surprise of many, Microsoft decided to make Starfield an Xbox console exclusive.
The rationale behind this decision was Microsoft’s confidence that they could recover potential profits by launching Starfield through the Xbox Game Pass subscription service, available on both Xbox Series X/S and PC. Additionally, the company believed that this exclusivity would drive increased console sales.
This move by Microsoft is undoubtedly a gamble. By forgoing the potential 10 million sales on PlayStation, they are placing their faith in Starfield’s ability to attract new customers to Xbox and Game Pass solely for the sake of Bethesda’s new game. Sacrificing such a significant number of sales is a bold move, particularly considering the long development time and the reputation of a major studio like Bethesda Games.
CFO Tim Stuart’s comments also mentioned another game under the Zenimax umbrella, the Indiana Jones game developed by MachineGames. Stuart believed that it too had the potential for 10 million sales on PlayStation consoles. However, similar to Starfield, Microsoft decided to prioritize exclusivity on Xbox Game Pass from day one, rather than pursuing potential sales on PlayStation.
These court documents were released in conjunction with the FTC losing their court case against Microsoft. The judge ruled that the FTC had not provided enough evidence to warrant an injunction halting Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard. As a result, the planned acquisition has been officially cleared to proceed in the United States.