Breaking: New horse armor will be first available on Xbox 360!

Microsoft just announced that DLC for what may be the most anticipated game of the year, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, will first show up exclusively on the Xbox 360 as a timed exclusive, further emphasizing company’s push towards gaining the competitive advantage in multi-platform triple-A games.

Just like we saw with the expansions for Grand Theft Auto IV and the overpriced DLC of Call of Duty, Microsoft is bringing their A-Game in getting a head start on additional content for the industry’s biggest multi-platform titles and we’re not surprised by this news of their partnership with Bethesda for Skyrim in the slightest.

A week ago, Microsoft’s Chris Lewis told Eurogamer of their goals with signing deals with major publishers to bring content to the Xbox 360 platform first, as a way to entice PS3 owners who also have an Xbox 360 to make a favorable purchasing decision.

“They are important. DLC windows of exclusivity are critical for us for differentiation. We’ll continue to bring those exclusives through our own studio work, Gears and Forza and other titles.

We’re also pretty confident the cross-platform experience is better on Xbox. We enjoy great success with Call of Duty. Live is the oxygen that runs through our business. The experience users have through Xbox Live is a fundamental differentiator for us versus other platforms. FIFA is another one. Certainly here in Europe football is a religion. Our ongoing commitment to experiencing better and playing better on Xbox is partly a function of what we do with Xbox Live.”

Whether or not timed exclusives are good for the industry can be debated forever – Why should some gamers get access to something before others if they pay the same retail price on the same day? But it’s a business-minded reality that’s not going away. Lewis continues, explaining their expanding network of publishing partners:

“We have good, healthy partnerships with all the publishers around the globe, now,” Lewis said. “Over the last 10 years those have developed and they like the momentum we have. It’s hard to trivialise 55 million units out there. Everyone loves the install base. We did grow 20 per cent last year in Europe. We want to grow even more this coming year. If you think where we are in the life cycle that’s a fairly unusual ambition at this time.

Our publishers, they see that, they see that ambition, they know how much money we’re going to spend. They know the depth of the partnerships. They love the technology. And they understand we want to differentiate ourselves through DLC or the beauty of the integration across the different device types that we have and are uniquely placed to be able to offer versus our very good quality competition.”

For a company so inclined to offer the best experience for multi-platform titles, it’s a wonder why they bring fail to the issue of cross-platform play, brought to light with Valve offering Portal 2 and the upcoming Counter-Strike: Global Offensive with the ability to join Steam and play against PC gamers from the PS3. In that instance, PS3 players are getting motion control support as well as support for keyboard and mouse place which Xbox 360 will not have.

As for the Skyrim DLC, there’s no word on what the DLC will entail, what form it will take or how much they will retail for, but we know the deal will cover the first two add-ons for the game and that each will be timed for 30 days. We never really enjoy hearing about DLC beforehand because it means they’re working on content that’s intentionally being left out of the main game, but Skyrim is a big province with plenty of quests to explore so there’s no reason to complain here… Unless of course, this DLC is overpriced cosmetic stuff like Oblivion’s infamous horse armor rip-off.

To see what we do know is in the game, check out our gallery of playable character screenshots, close-ups of preset faces from the Skyrim character creator and most recently, the inclusion of same-sex marriage in the game.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim releases November 11, 2011 for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.

Follow me on Twitter @rob_keyes.

Sources: Eurogamer