What you need to know
Recently, Microsoft and the USA's Federal Trade Commission (FTC) battled in court over Microsoft's pending Activision Blizzard acquisition.
While the FTC eventually lost that case, the trial did reveal a ton of information on Xbox and the video games industry.
Now, new documents are coming to light, detailing new information and confirming earlier speculations.
This includes Microsoft's initial reaction to the PlayStation 5 (and later its price hike), plus more confirmation that The Elder Scrolls 6 will be exclusive to Xbox and Windows PC.
The Xbox vs FTC case may seem like a distant memory already, seeing as the Federal Trade Commission's attempt to delay Microsoft's acquisition of publisher Activision Blizzard was denied. The trial itself revealed a ton of behind-the-scenes information on Xbox and Activision's operations, as well as trends in the video games industry itself. Now, new information is coming to light that either confirms earlier speculations or simply provides an interesting new perspective on matters.
Massive Xbox leak
To begin with, more documents from the Xbox vs FTC case reveal the initial reaction from various Microsoft and Xbox executives following Sony's reveal of the PlayStation 5's specs in an email, as shared via The Verge. The email shows an analysis of the PS5's capabilities, including the Xbox Series X's performance advantage with the CPU and GPU running at higher sustained rates versus the PS5's variable frequencies. The email goes on to admit that the PS5's SSD surpasses the Xbox Series X's in raw throughput and hardware compression.
It's an interesting email that, while not revealing any new or revelatory information, still provides a peek behind the curtain. You can see the full email below.
A few years later, an email chain reveals Xbox's reaction to Sony raising the prices of PS5 consoles. Executives reportedly saw it as an opportunity to gain some ground on Sony, with Ami Silverman (then the head of consumer sales and marketing) saying "we know this could be our time to win fans vs lose being a follower." At the time, this resulted in Microsoft stating there weren't any plans to raise Xbox or Xbox Game Pass prices. Of course, another 8 months later would see the company raise Xbox Series X and Xbox Game Pass prices in most countries, basically matching what Sony had done previously.
Another report from The Verge shows an internal Microsoft graph depicting various first-party games from the Bethesda Softworks side of the Xbox family. The graph categorizes each game by whether it's part of an existing IP, if it supports multiplayer, if it features cross-platform console play, and if it's available on PlayStation consoles. This includes titles like DEATHLOOP and Ghostwire: Tokyo, both released as timed exclusives for PlayStation, multiplatform releases like Fallout 76 and The Elder Scrolls Online, and first-party exclusives like Redfall and Starfield.
Most prominently, though, is the inclusion of The Elder Scrolls 6, and the seeming confirmation that the upcoming game will release exclusively on Xbox consoles and Windows PC. Of course, this isn't actually particularly surprising, since it has been heavily suggested in the past by previous interviews, reveals, and more. The news that TES VI is targeting a 2026 or later release also isn't new, since a Microsoft lawyer accidentally spilled the beans during the Xbox vs FTC case. Still, this confirmation is just short of an official announcement from Microsoft when considered with everything previous — if you're a PlayStation-only console player, don't hold your breath for The Elder Scrolls 6, whenever it eventually arrives.
In other news, the next generation of Xbox consoles may arrive in 2028 and continue Microsoft's multi-tier strategy, and Microsoft actively discussed plans to stream PC games from the cloud in addition to the best Xbox games in an effort to compete more directly with the now-defunct Google Stadia. It's a busy day for Xbox news, eh?