The ongoing trial between Microsoft and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has revealed several bombshells as business dealings and internal documents have come to light. Today, we’ve learned more details about some discussions and feelings about Xbox exclusivity from Bethesda’s senior vice president of global marketing and communications, Pete Hines.
Thanks to an internal email, we’ve learned that Hines expressed frustration about Xbox’s inconsistency regarding exclusivity on its platforms and the preferential treatment that Activision Blizzard seems to be getting to secure the lucrative deal.
Internal Emails Reveal Bethesda Head’s Frustrations Over Xbox Exclusivity
As revealed by Axios’ Stephen Totilo on Twitter, we’ve learned that Hines wasn’t too happy about Microsofts inconsistent attitude to exclusivity, asking, “Is the below not the opposite of what we were just asked (told) to do with our own titles?”
In an email from Hines to Todd Howard, Jamie Leder, and Todd Vaughn, he expressed his confusion over comments made by Microsoft representatives, who in a 2022 blog post regarding the question of exclusivity, stated that Microsoft will “continue to make Call of Duty and other popular Activision Blizzard games available on PlayStation.” They go on to say they are “committed to Sony” and intend to support both PlayStation and Nintendo in this regard, believing it to be “the right thing for the industry, for gamers, and for our business.”
Hines then follows up by asking why Xbox didn’t think to give a heads-up on this information and goes on to discuss Todd’s appearance at DICE and the potential questioning he will receive on the subject.
Hine’s frustrations are well-founded, especially since multiple titles such as Redfall and Starfield were seemingly forced to become Xbox console exclusives after the acquisition. With that said, Microsoft’s Phil Spencer has revealed details in the last few days that may explain some of their decisions. These being Starfield potentially skipping Xbox altogether prior to the acquisition, and the rather frank admission about Xbox’s position in the “console wars,” with Spencer saying, “We are behind Sony and Nintendo in console share globally.”
With all this said, Spencer has stated that exclusivity is decided on a case-by-case basis. Still, given the current discussion by the FTC over Xbox’s intentions with the Activision Blizzard library, particularly Call of Duty, this revelation probably doesn’t help that argument.
This is just the newest piece of information we’ve learned from the ongoing trial, which has also revealed the upcoming Indiana Jones game to be an Xbox exclusive and Microsofts plans to “spend Sony out of business.” With a few more days to go, we can expect to see some revelations before the trial ends.