While not officially announced, a recent interview with Xbox head Phil Spencer seems to all but confirm that Elder Scrolls VI will be an Xbox/PC exclusive, at least at launch. While many players have expected this move ever since Microsoft purchased Bethesda in 2020, it’s still a disappointing development nonetheless. After all, exclusivity in entertainment only serves to limit players, which is why industries like online casinos tend to avoid it. So why does this disparity exist, and what can players of RPG games do about it?
The Accessibility of Online Casino Games
Online casino games have created a world where choice is king. Check any of the modern online live casino games, for example, and you’ll often be flooded with different options. From live blackjack, mega ball, roulette, baccarat, and more, games are often shared across different services, and players have responded positively to the effort. The idea here is that if these casinos were limited, customer bases would fragment, and libraries would be limited. Combine this with the issue of regional access limitations, and the problems with exclusivity would become rampant if implemented.
A Console Approach
Unlike online casino websites, the developers of video game consoles are substantially larger multinational organisations. Their systems are expensive to purchase and develop, so the economic reality of being the best creates a very different environment. As explored in the GQ interview with Spencer, one of the best ways the companies have to fight against their competitors is through game exclusivity.
On an online casino, no exclusive hardware plays a part. Whether through desktops, laptops, phones, or tablets, the value comes from players engaging, regardless of origin. In consoles, playing a title means choosing one single system for an exclusive game. If the game is the latest release in one of the most popular series of all time, as The Elder Scrolls VI will be, then that game can help ship consoles.
For the Consumer
While the argument makes sense to the big companies, there’s no denying that the customers can miss out on titles that become exclusive. Most of us can’t afford multiple consoles, so we have to weigh our decisions carefully before purchasing. Though Microsoft at least releases most of their Xbox games on PC these days, moves like this still cut some interested players out of the pie.
So, what can you do? Other than putting down the money for a new console or a PC, there aren’t many great solutions. There is one possible way forward in that many former exclusives can eventually go multiplatform, as PlayStation games have done as they come to PC. Since there can be a wait of years, however, this isn’t ideal.
Another possible avenue, which could have some crossover if you already use your mobile for casino gaming, could come from the potential for game streaming services. Microsoft’s xCloud can be used to play select Xbox games on phones or tablets, which is again a roundabout but viable solution.
As troubling as we find exclusivity in gaming, it’s not going to disappear anytime soon. The market is so fundamentally different from open ecosystems like those of online casinos that consoles will always need exclusives to get ahead. All we can do is work within the limits, and hope that patience will eventually save our wallets from buying what we don’t really need. Plus, who knows, since this is Bethesda, there’s still a chance it will take fans years to fix their game bugs anyway.