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What does Microsoft's purchase mean for the future of The Elder Scrolls?

With Microsoft's planned acquisition of ZeniMax Media and Bethesda, gamers understandably have a lot of questions. A big one is: What does Microsoft's purchase mean for the future of The Elder Scrolls? This long-running Bethesda franchise is incredibly popular with fans on a number of platforms. Could Microsoft potentially turn The Elder Scrolls into an Xbox-exclusive series, never to be played on any other console again?

The last Elder Scrolls release, Skyrim, came to just about every platform imaginable, including Amazon's Alexa. This might've set some expectations for fans about where they could play the next installment. But of course, Bethesda was an independent company when that game came out. Now that Microsoft is set to not only own The Elder Scrolls, but every other Bethesda property under the sun, it appears less likely the company's hit RPG franchise will continue to see multi-platform releases.

If there's one rule you should follow when it comes to video games, however, it's that you should never say never.

The Elder Scrolls could still come to other consoles

Microsoft seems to utilize a strategy not often employed by other platform holders in the console business. The company has Xbox-exclusive franchises that have never appeared on a PlayStation or Nintendo console. It's also shown a willingness, however, to release some games in other places. You can play Minecraft on both PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch, for example. Both of Microsoft's Ori titles are available on Switch, too.

It seems Microsoft hasn't closed the door on a similar strategy for Bethesda titles going forward. As posted by Bloomberg's Dina Bass on Twitter, Microsoft stated that "other consoles will be considered on a case by case basis." Microsoft could lock up The Elder Scrolls for eternity, never allowing the franchise to see the light of day on other systems again. Or the company could decide, as it did with Minecraft on PS4 and Ori on Switch, that the pros to releasing The Elder Scrolls outside its own console ecosystem outweigh the cons.

There's no word yet on when the next Elder Scrolls game will drop, so it might be a while before fans learn about the fate of the series going forward.

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