By now, you've likely heard that Microsoft has acquired Bethesda alongside other ZeniMax properties. Moreso, Microsoft has confirmed that they will honor exclusivity deals with PlayStation for games like Deathloop and Ghostwire. That being said, it looks like Sony was in talks with Bethsesda for exclusive rights to their upcoming IP Starfield before the acquisition was finalized, at least according to recent reports.
The latest report about one of the alternate timelines for Starfield comes from esteemed journalist and industry insider Imran Khan. According to a recent Twitter post from Khan, "The timing on this announcement is absolutely fascinating. The week after Sony solidifies their existing exclusivity with some Bethesda games but the day before Xbox opens up preorders."
The timing was genius, there is no denying that, but apparently the 7.5 billion dollar deal has an even greater impact than we originally thought. Khan followed up to his initial tweet saying that Sony was reportedly looking into a special deal with Bethesda's sci-fi new IP. "Sony had been negotiating timed exclusivity on Starfield as recently as a few months ago," he said. "Going to guess either those talks are done or the price suddenly went way, way up."
In our previous coverage we talked about how Xboss Phil Spencer talked about honoring the previous Sony deals for two of Bethesda's games, Ghostwire and Deathloop, and that all remaining games from that point on would be on a "case by case basis."
As a personal speculation note, I would imagine that Microsoft would look to capitalize on the massive fanbase that's attached to the PlayStation brand who happen to also be huge Fallout and Skyrim fans as well. Instead of going full-on Xbox/PC exclusive for those mainstay franchise, it's possible that Microsoft will allow those particular series to be multiplatform with timed-exclusivity at most. New IPs like Starfield, however, are new communities, and could withstand an exclusive move.
We'll be learning more about what this acquisition means for Bethesda games both new and old, but for now you can catch up on the latest announcement right here.