- Bethesda’s Starfield has achieved a landmark with over 10 million players in just two weeks of its release, marking the largest launch in the company’s history.
- Its performance on platforms like Steam and in European sales underscores its success, although comparisons with older Bethesda titles remain.
- With future expansions and updates in the pipeline, Starfield promises to be a cornerstone in the realm of role-playing games.
Is Starfield up to the hype that Bethesda Game Studios generated before its release? That varies, though. But whether you like Starfield or No Man’s Sky more—the Hello Games game is now having its greatest month in years—numbers never lie, and the most recent data is compelling.
After only two weeks of publication, Starfield has already broken numerous records. More than 10 million players have gathered since its early access launch on September 1st. After just six days of launch, Bethesda’s game surpassed six million gamers, making it the biggest launch in the company’s illustrious history.
Starfield was a sci-fi role-playing game that was released on the PC, Xbox Series X, and S. The most noteworthy first-party release since Halo Infinite in December 2021, Microsoft also made sure it was accessible day-and-date on Game Pass.
Bethesda Game Studios (@BethesdaStudios) September 19, 2023
Although Bethesda and Microsoft have not released precise sales numbers, information from “unofficial” sources shows how well Starfield is performing. In Europe, Starfield’s sales eclipsed those of popular games like as Resident Evil 4 and Final Fantasy 16, despite the game trailing behind Hogwarts Legacy and The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.
But drawing parallels with previous Bethesda titles can be difficult, especially given the unique dynamics brought about by its Xbox Game Pass availability. With many choosing membership over outright purchase, Xbox’s industry-leading subscription program has drastically transformed how gamers access their favorite projects. This makes it unclear how many Game Pass games are actually played in relation to Starfield purchases. Nevertheless, Phil Spencer, the CEO of Microsoft Gaming, is still optimistic that Starfield will turn a profit despite this uncertainty.
In contrast to its rivals like Sony and Nintendo, Microsoft actually appreciates Starfield’s beneficial impact on the Game Pass numbers—possibly even more so than a higher sales figure.
Naturally, there’s the nagging worry that Starfield would have sold millions more copies both physically and digitally if it hadn’t been limited to the Xbox platform. With its massive marketing push, it’s understandable how a multi-platform release of Starfield could have increased sales by millions.
However, it seems like Microsoft’s plan is to increase Xbox console sales and Game Pass subscriptions, and so far, this has been successful.
Starfield’s popularity has expanded beyond its entertaining gameplay. In addition to the “Shattered Space” expansion, there will be other post-launch expansions announced, giving players something more to look forward to. The announcement that Bethesda will provide official mod support in 2024, promising thousands of modules, has the modding community particularly enthusiastic.
Comparing these success tales to one another is unavoidable. In 2021, Microsoft revealed that in just its first week of release, Forza Horizon 5 had attracted over 10 million gamers. In comparison, Starfield required roughly twice as long to reach the same result. But considering that Starfield was only available on the Xbox Series X/S and PC, its performance is remarkable. In contrast, Forza Horizon 5 attracted a larger player base due to its Xbox One release.
The gamers and the Xbox brand come out on top in the end.
Given that 2023 is predicted to be the Xbox platform’s strongest year to date, with games like Ghostwire: Tokyo and Hi-Fi Rush prospering and Forza Motorsport slated for release in the near future, Nintendo and PlayStation will need to start taking Microsoft more seriously.