Yesterday on January 16, a Reddit (opens in new tab) post highlighted how a new Xbox Series X owner in China had their console's packaging adorned with Bethesda's Starfield. Typically, the rear of the new-gen console's packaging would've had Halo's Master Chief emblazoned all over it, but now that honor belongs to Bethesda's new RPG.
It might seem little more than a throwaway detail at first, but this really points to Starfield replacing Halo as the Xbox's flagship franchise (for now, at least). With Halo Infinite having come and gone in November 2021, the immediate future of Xbox belongs to the juggernaut Starfield from Bethesda instead.
It obviously doesn't help matters that Starfield has been delayed out of its original release date in November 2022 to an unspecified date in the first half of 2023, and still doesn't have a firm release date. Still, with the promise of the new RPG launching at some point in the next five months or so, Xbox is clearly setting up Starfield as its big new franchise.
Considering Microsoft spent $7.5 billion acquiring Bethesda's parent company back in 2020, it's no great surprise that the former is setting up the latter's game as its big tentpole franchise. Given that we still don't have firm release dates for other Xbox Series X exclusives like Fable 4, Everwild, Avowed, and more, it makes perfect sense for Xbox to go all-in on Starfield as its system-seller.
Head over to our new games 2023 guide for a full look over all the games expected to launch in the coming year.