Microsoft’s acquisition halted Bethesda’s plans to release Starfield on PS5

According to a job listing on LinkedIn, spotted by Tech4gamers, Bethesda planned the multi-platform release of Starfield, which was eventually canceled after Microsoft acquired Zenimax Media, the owners of Bethesda Game Studios. Bethesda reportedly planned three versions of Starfield (Xbox/PS5/PC).

The media outlet noticed the job experience of Jason Tonks, who worked as a 3D artist for Bethesda Game Studios between 2017 and 2021. As per the profile, Starfield was under development for PlayStation 5 till 2021.

3d artist job experience of Jason Tonks
Jason Tonks | LinkedIn

And interestingly, it was 2021 when Microsoft finally acquired ZeniMax, and the development for PlayStation was halted.

Sony too planned Starfield exclusive to PlayStation

The Verge reported the speaking at the FTC v. Microsoft hearing, where Phil Spencer revealed that Sony was planning to skip Xbox and retain Starfield exclusive to PlayStation. Like it has already done for Deathloop and Ghostwire.

Phil said, “We can’t be in a position as a third-place console where we fall further behind on our content ownership so we’ve had to secure content to remain viable in the business.”

Given the wide user base of PlayStation 5, it seems reasonable for Bethesda (before acquisition) to target this console. Starfield was one of the hit commercial successes of Xbox, who promoted it on Game Pass, which likely boosted player numbers. If Starfield went PS exclusive, it would have been a great loss to Xbox.

The importance of Starfield to Xbox can be speculated from the fact that Starfield is not going multiplatform anytime soon. However, it seems Xbox has some plans to release Starfield on other consoles.


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