Pete Hines on Starfield frustrations: "I'm not apologizing for exclusivity" but rather "expressing empathy"

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Update - June 22: Bethesda SVP Pete Hines clarified his recent comments regarding Starfield's Xbox console exclusivity on Twitter, emphasizing that he simply doesn't like to see fans upset. 

"I'm not apologizing for exclusivity," Hines said in a reply to one Bethesda fan asking why he felt the need to make any sort of apology. "I don't 'have' to do anything. Some of our fans are upset/angry, and I'm sorry they are. That isn't wrong, or weird. It's acknowledging how they feel. That's it. That's my whole point."

In an earlier tweet, Hines noted that "it's OK to acknowledge and feel bad for people who are upset or angry, regardless of whether you did anything wrong or not. I'm simply expressing empathy." 

In his initial, apologetic comments, which you can read for yourself below, Hines maintained a 'business is business' tone and never implied that Bethesda or Xbox were somehow in the wrong for steering Starfield in this direction. Studio head Todd Howard has also repeatedly stressed that focusing on PC and Xbox will ultimately lead to "a better product" for those looking forward to the game. 

Original story - June 16: 

Bethesda Softworks SVP Pete Hines says he's "sorry" to PlayStation fans frustrated with Starfield's Xbox console exclusivity

In an interview with GameSpot, Hines was asked to comment on Starfield, and some Bethesda games more broadly, becoming Xbox exclusives after the studio's acquisition by Microsoft. As you might expect, Hines can't wave a magic wand and bring Starfield, Elder Scrolls 6, and Redfall to PS5, but he can offer his sincere sympathies.

"If you're a big fan of the stuff we make and a game that we're making is no longer available on your platform, I totally understand if you're unhappy or pissed, or whatever," Hines said. "Like, I get it. Those are all real feelings and frustrations. How should you deal with that, I haven't the foggiest idea. I would never presume to say, 'Oh, here's how you can make it better and feel better.'"

While he isn't focused on remedying the predicament of PlayStation players looking forward to future Bethesda games, Hines does the take time to apologize directly to that group of people, despite the situation being out of his hands.

"I don't know how to allay the fears and concerns of PlayStation 5 fans other than to say, well, I'm a PlayStation 5 player as well and I've played games on that console and there's games I'm gonna continue to play on it, but if you want to play Starfield, PC and Xbox, sorry. All I can really say is 'I apologize', because I'm certain that's frustrating to folks. But there's not a whole lot I can do about it."

Meanwhile, Todd Howard, another recognizable figure at Bethesda, said today that despite regrettably losing some of its audience, Starfield's Xbox exclusivity will make it "a better product" by allowing Bethesda to focus on optimizing the game for a narrower range of platforms.

"You don't ever want to leave people out, right? But at the end of the day, your ability to focus and say, this is the game I want to make, these are the platforms I want to make it on, and being able to really lean in on those is going to make for a better product," Howard said.

For everything else on the horizon for the 'box, here's our comprehensive guide to upcoming Xbox Series X games.

Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a senior writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature, all while playing as many roguelikes as possible.