Here's what PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan thinks of Starfield's Xbox exclusivity

Starfield Direct images
(Image credit: Bethesda)

What you need to know

  • The FTC vs. Microsoft Corp hearing continues in its third day. 
  • As part of the hearing, Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan was asked about what he thought of Bethesda Game Studios' Starfield being an Xbox console exclusive. 
  • Ryan explained that while he wasn't happy about the situation, he agreed it wasn't "anticompetitive."
  • Starfield is scheduled to launch on Sep. 6, 2023 exclusively on Xbox Series X|S, Windows PC, and Xbox Game Pass.


Following this news, a Microsoft spokesperson reached out to provide a comment.

“Microsoft wants to take gaming into the future by meeting gamers where they are across platforms, while Sony wants to protect its dominant position. That’s why our leaders have shown up in person to testify about how this merger benefits gamers.”

Original story:

The FTC vs. Microsoft Corp hearing continues, and we're going to continue getting new information and fascinating quotes from all across executives in the gaming industry.

As part of day three for the hearing, Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan was asked by Microsoft counsel about a number of topics, including how he felt about Bethesda games being exclusive. 

When specifically asked how he felt about Starfield being an Xbox console exclusive, Ryan shared that "I don't like it, but I don't view it as anticompetitive."

Ryan made similar comments when asked about Redfall, saying "I don't like it, but I have fundamentally no quarrel with it." 

Starfield is currently scheduled to launch on Sep. 6, 2023, with early access on September 1 for anyone that buys the Premium Edition of the game. 

Windows Central's take

This is a frank, honest answer from PlayStation leadership. It's also especially amusing considering that according to Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer, Microsoft heard that Starfield might skip Xbox, which a galvanizing input that led in part to Microsoft deciding to acquire ZeniMax Media.

Starfield Premium Edition

Starfield Premium Edition

The Premium Edition of Starfield includes bonuses alongside the main game, with the added bonus of being able to play five days early. If that's not enough, you'll also get the game's first story expansion when it arrives.

Buy at: Xbox | Steam (GMG)

Samuel Tolbert
Freelance Writer

Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.

  • fjtorres5591
    Of course he doesn't like it.
    In his world exclusivity is for japanese companies, not XBOX or PC.

    But he can't call it anticompetitive because exclusivity is all he has to peddle and calling it anticompetitive is inviting the FTC, CMA, and EU to come after him.

    His biggest problem, though, is that even with Activision on their Side, XBOX would only rise to fourth in global gaming, behind Tencent, Nintendo, and Sony.
    And that would be a much easier anti-trust case, given Sony's practices.

    If the FTC weren't run by ideologues, they would've gone after Sony *before* MS went after Activision. Then they'd have a leg to stand on. But going after MS/Activision now is carrying water for Sony. Bad optics, worse economics.

    The FTC might have had a case if MS were executing a hostile takeover of a healthy, well regarded company. But that's not Activision, which had so many problems it put *itself* up for sale when its stock was some 35% off peak and looking to drop further. The whole saga is well documented here and elsewhere.

    What the judge is going to see when Kotick testifies is that MS is coming in as an off-white knight, paying full value (though not a significant premium) for a distressed property that was not going to see that stock valuation for years, if ever again.

    As bad as a lost would be for MS ($3B worth of cash and a lost year in M&A) it would be devastating for Activision and its stockholders. And worst still for consumers if the FTC blocks the growth of game pass.