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October 30th, 2020, 01:52
Todd Howard has addressed the question of exclusivity for their next generation games in an interview with Games Industry.

But it's the potential for the rest of ZeniMax's IP that is perhaps most intriguing. Franchises like Prey and Dishonored are both understood to be on hold having struggled to meet sales expectations -- despite critical acclaim for their most recent outings. But Game Pass is about delivering a variety of content that people want, not just raw sales. Even id Software co-founder John Carmack commented at the time that the deal may lead to the revival of older franchises.

Howard certainly sees an opportunity: "Game Pass and things like it allow titles to be successful where the economics of the business, and having to sell things at retail to sell X amount of copies… That works against some games. Just like in other avenues -- let's take television or movies. Certain types of comedies or big budget dramas went away. TV went to the cheapest thing they could make for a long time, reality television, which I could equate to a free-to-play match-three game. What brings eyeballs? What's cheap? Right, let's get it out.

[…]

Despite the many entry points to the Xbox ecosystem, there are still concerns that all future Bethesda titles will be restricted to channels the Microsoft controls. Xbox boss Phil Spencer said at the time that Bethesda's games continuing to be multiformat will be judged "on a case-by-case basis" -- and Howard reiterates that the details of the deal are still being finalised. When it comes to such releases, he says, "We haven't gone through all of that, to be honest."

"We do view it, and always have by ourselves, on a case-by-case basis," he says. "We'll do that as part of Microsoft as well. They've been pretty open on other platforms and not just within Xbox. This is an outside perspective, but if you go back ten years at Microsoft, you wouldn't expect them to have a full Office suite on an iPhone either.

"I can't really project where things will be except to say we've done those sort of exercises ourselves as an independent. If you look at every Elder Scrolls game, there has been some exclusivity on Xbox or with Microsoft. We've partnered with every game. Morrowind was basically a console exclusive, Oblivion was a long timed exclusive, Skyrim's DLC was exclusive for a long period of time. We'll decide what makes the best sense for our audience when the time comes, and I can't really project today what that looks like."
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October 30th, 2020, 03:50
Can't really trust a single word of Todd Howard's. He's a snake oil salesman, and I'd label him as the new and improved Peter Molyneux. Over promise and under deliver.
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October 30th, 2020, 08:22
I'd like to see Microsoft fire both Todd Howard and Pete Hines…the decisions made regarding that online Fallout abomination are worthy of dismissal.
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October 30th, 2020, 09:10
Morrowind was basically a console exclusive
Huh?
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October 30th, 2020, 10:21
Not convinced it's good for us to have good video games developers and publishers regrouped under the same banner. Even less thrilled by the "Game Pass" idea.

Microsoft may be a special case, thankfully, and not impose development decisions too much (e.g. using a specific game engine, like Electronics Arts) to make production and maintenance easier. It still concentrates the decisions on many games in the hands of one company, and of a very few people.

I personally don't care for consoles, and MS may continue to support PCs. But I'm sure PS owners won't like that trend, however. Just taking Bethesda, even if not all their recent titles were good and a bit on the "quantity over quality" side, there have been several very good games, and the two next ones look promising as well. Will they buy the next PS? And if not, will they accept to lose the PS exclusives? That sucks.

And this Game Pass… yes, it may help some titles that wouldn't sell much otherwise, but it can only lead to an overall decrease in quality. As for media providers, or platforms like Steam, we'll find a few good products and a lot of junk food. And the quantity of sales will still be a KPI for those companies, let's not fool ourselves. Only this time, they won't be able to take decisions to pursue a good franchise if they are convinced it's good but the sales were so-so. Someone else will pull the plug for them.

As a customer, I also hate the idea of a Game Pass that forces me to pay annual fees for something I don't own. That gives them a huge leverage, not only the customers can't give a proper feedback to the producers so they improve their product, but these customers may find themselves without anything from one day to the next if their registration is cancelled. We see that already with Netflix, Spotify, Steam, and so on. Not to mention the way they can now steer the demand with the marketing being able to operate on a large spectrum of products.

Next step is removing the hardware from our hands, with services like Stadia.

I really hope Indie producers can still sprout up and keep injecting pure novelty in the market, so that the quality of what we get doesn't remain the decision of a very few.
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October 30th, 2020, 10:27
Originally Posted by Redglyph View Post
As a customer, I also hate the idea of a Game Pass that forces me to pay annual fees for something I don't own. That gives them a huge leverage, not only the customers can't give a proper feedback to the producers so they improve their product, but these customers may find themselves without anything from one day to the next if their registration is cancelled. We see that already with Netflix, Spotify, Steam, and so on. Not to mention the way they can now steer the demand with the marketing being able to operate on a large spectrum of products.
No one is forcing you to use Game Pass though. It's just there for the people who like that sort of thing. Also, no games will be exclusive to it afaik.
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October 30th, 2020, 12:09
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
Huh?
I also didn't know this, but apparently Morrowind was released on Xbox - and ran like shit there lol

I think his point in this case was that it was "Microsoft exclusive" - and thus among consoles it was exclusive to Xbox.
Really weird point to make. And not really what "console exclusive" means.
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October 30th, 2020, 12:14
Originally Posted by Redglyph View Post
Next step is removing the hardware from our hands, with services like Stadia.
Stadia is great! Why hassle with hardware and installation if you do not have to?

Regarding the monthly fees, I support the idea as long as you can begin and cancel the subscription when you want. This is a slippery slope though and can lead to the Adobe style force paying for products the customer likely will never use. Companies like that should burn in hell. A problem with subscriptions is that the service may own your saved games which you might not be able to move to another service. I think you can still copy the saved games on Game Pass but a small change to the software would make them inaccessible. If they did that, they would also deserve to burn in hell.
Last edited by largh; October 30th, 2020 at 12:28.
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October 30th, 2020, 15:18
We'll decide what makes the best sense for our audienceshareholders when the time comes, and I can't really project today what that looks like."
This needed a fix.

I don't judge them. They're a big company and their job is to make money. They should just stop bullshitting customers with comments like this.

Edit: In a previous version I wrote that they're a "bug company". That was a typo, I swear.
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October 30th, 2020, 16:37
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
No one is forcing you to use Game Pass though. It's just there for the people who like that sort of thing. Also, no games will be exclusive to it afaik.
As long as this option is still there, it's fine, for sure. But how long before they make it the only way to get such and such praised title? Or just the only way to get any game?

Maybe I'm reading too much in this and they won't.

Originally Posted by TheSHEEEP View Post
I also didn't know this, but apparently Morrowind was released on Xbox - and ran like shit there lol
I can imagine… Morrowind, of all games, on console! Perhaps I'm biased by strong stereotypes, but after reading reproaches console players were making on roleplaying games that were not casual enough to play on a couch, I don't see how a Morrowind - one of those rare good games which didn't put a big exlamation mark on the next NPC to visit, hell, even one that didn't put a mark on the map but described the path to follow! - I don't see how it would fit the profile. No judging, people are entitled to have relaxing and casual games when they want. I just think it's so off the mark.

Originally Posted by largh View Post
Stadia is great! Why hassle with hardware and installation if you do not have to?

Regarding the monthly fees, I support the idea as long as you can begin and cancel the subscription when you want.
That's the advantage. The same type of advantage as a leasing, where all services are included but you don't own the car. But I'm old-fashioned, I like to own things, I like to be able to select the options I want, and I don't like having to answer to someone else for everything. Of course, I may have to pay a little more for that, in money or in time.

It's the same idea for the subscriptions. As you say, it all depends of the company, and that can change anytime. If Steam goes away, will we be able to run all those games? There are probably contingencies, but still. If they decide to ban you, for whatever reason, or if your identity is lost or stolen, or if your Internet connection is gone for a few days… suddenly your whole game library is just gone.

I don't deny the advantages, but it's a fine line, and when I see more of those moves that centralize the software, the hardware, I feel uncomfortable.
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October 30th, 2020, 17:31
Originally Posted by Redglyph View Post
I don't deny the advantages, but it's a fine line, and when I see more of those moves that centralize the software, the hardware, I feel uncomfortable.
We do agree on this. My point is not to argue. Just wanted to point out that the world can go to hell tomorrow - or not. You never know what happens. Your projection on subscription services does not appear very advanced and formulating opinions based on what you project seems quite dodgy to me. It may happen that the giants will begin to blackmail us gamers at some point. To me, there are no indications for that to happen, though (you have read the MS interviews in the news bits posted on this site lately). Yet, it is important to stay alert in case they try anything less beneficial for us. It could quickly tip to the Adobe model and I truly hate it because I am a slave of one of their programs.

At the moment Game Pass costs 1$ for the first month and 10$ thereafter. You can cancel it at will. To me, that is an acceptable price for the games they offer (Wasteland 3 among others). Stadia, on the other hand, only requires that you buy the game through the service. The price is comparable to other platforms. After the initial purchase, you can play the game as much as you want anywhere you have a sufficient internet connection on pretty much any platform from phones to old toasters or TVs. IMO, that is an acceptable deal too.

In an ideal world, I would always have a modern gaming rig and buy my games from GOG. Yet, I cannot justify buying a new rig every 4th year given the amount of time I have for gaming.
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November 4th, 2020, 17:01
Do you think you own any game you buy digitally? Because you don't.

Game pass is a great deal for finding games you may never have played otherwise. Also, all first party games are there forever. They don't get removed. I fail to see why giving an option for people to pay a small monthly fee to have access to hundreds of games as a bad thing…
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November 5th, 2020, 22:35
All I truly got out of the article is that Bethesda is functionally irrelevant. They may or may not become relevant again but recent history points against it. Can gamebryo be resurrected for the nth time and still feel like an AAA title? I don't see Microsoft or Bethesda releasing their rehashed engine for less than full pop.

On the other hand, all of the people who eventually fix most of Bethesda's game and engine issues are all professional level developers themselves at this point Most modders have more hours in coding in Gamebryo than anyone at Bethesda. Look at @wolfgrimdark as a prime example.
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November 5th, 2020, 22:50
Well he also did a one hour interview that was informative.

Going Nuclear: The Story of Todd Howard & Bethesda

loading…
Presenter: James Batchelor, GamesIndustry.biz Featuring: Todd Howard, Bethesda Game Studios This session took place at Develop:Brighton Digital 2020. Develop:Brighton 2021 returns to the sunny coast 13-15 July 2021.
Here was the bullet-points.
  • Starfield is a singleplayer, no multiplayer aspects.
  • A focus on procedural generation during level design confirmed for Starfield and TES:VI
    • This is a tool for developers to create massive landmass and does not mean the land will be randomly generated in real time like No Man's Sky, meaning your game will look the exact same as everyone else. This is simply an engine tool to create larger worlds, so expect Starfield (planets?) to be much larger than Fallout 76's map (clarification: speculative), which is already four times bigger than Skyrim. YOUR ELDER SCROLLS/STARFIELD MAP WILL LOOK THE EXACT SAME AS EVERYONE ELSE, THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE MAP WILL BE RANDOMLY GENERATED.
  • **Huge major overhaul to the Creation Engine - larger than the jump from Morrowind to Oblivion ("**when people see the results, hopefully they'd be as happy as we are.")
    • Rendering
    • Animation
    • Artificial Intelligence & Pathing
    • Procedural Generation
    • And more areas.
  • It's going to be a while until we see Starfield, the release can be subject to delays etc. so he really doesn't feel comfortable talking about it yet.
    • He doesn't want to reveal Starfield earlier and just release teasers until the eventual release like Cyberpunk.
  • NPCs will play a large role in future games, cities will be expansive and large compared to past games, etc.
  • Will be on Game Pass from Day 1 alongside ES:VI.
  • Bethesda will continue to support mod support in the future.
  • Amount of developers are at least 4x - 5x larger than they were when they worked on Skyrim and Fallout 4. Starfield is going to be big.
    • Bethesda Games Studio Dallas, Maryland and Montreal are working on Starfield.
    • Bethesda Games Austin is in charge of Fallout 76's post-development with the Brotherhood of Steel expansion update coming this December.
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