Xbox expected Starfield to sell 10 million copies on PS5 but decided it's worth more as an exclusive

Starfield NPC behind a desk
(Image credit: Bethesda)

Microsoft estimated it could get 10 million Starfield sales on PlayStation, but – surprise – opted to make it to an Xbox console exclusive instead.

Yesterday, July 13, a US court released its findings from the case of the Federal Trade Commission against Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard. The court documents reveal Microsoft Gaming's CFO Tim Stuart believed the company could see over 10 million Starfield sales on PS5 alone if it had kept Bethesda's RPG on Sony's platform.

Obviously, we know Starfield isn't coming to PS5 anymore. What persuaded Microsoft to ditch these 10 million potential Starfield sales was the belief the company could recuperate these profits by launching Starfield via the Xbox Game Pass subscription service on both Xbox Series X/S and PC, not to mention increased console sales.

It's a bit of a gamble from Microsoft, which clearly believes Starfield will be enough to get people to buy into Xbox and Game Pass purely for Bethesda's new game. 10 million sales is a hell of a lot to sacrifice for a game, especially one that's been in development for so long at a development studio as big as Bethesda Games.

It's not just Starfield that's mentioned here by Stuart, either. The CFO also  believed the Indiana Jones game from MachineGames, part of the Zenimax umbrella Xbox acquired when it also took over Bethesda, could also see 10 million sales on PlayStation consoles. But just like with Starfield, Microsoft chose to forgo these possible sales in favor of launching exclusively on Xbox Game Pass on day one.

These court documents were published alongside the FTC losing their court case against Microsoft. A judge decreed the FTC hadn't provided sufficient evidence to grant an injunction halting Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard, and so the planned purchase is now officially cleared to proceed in the US.

Check out our upcoming Xbox Series X games guide for a look ahead at all the new-gen games coming to the console.

Hirun Cryer

Hirun Cryer is a freelance reporter and writer with Gamesradar+ based out of U.K. After earning a degree in American History specializing in journalism, cinema, literature, and history, he stepped into the games writing world, with a focus on shooters, indie games, and RPGs, and has since been the recipient of the MCV 30 Under 30 award for 2021. In his spare time he freelances with other outlets around the industry, practices Japanese, and enjoys contemporary manga and anime.