Starfield officially arrives September 6, but it has already begun breaking records on Steam. The expansive space RPG hit an all-time peak of 248,632 concurrent players, at the time of writing, which goes to show how impatient players have been for Bethesda’s latest. For the uninitiated, those who aren’t willing to wait for the official launch can purchase the Rs. 6,699/ $100 Premium Edition of the game and play it early. This is applicable across both Steam and Xbox platforms, with even Game Pass members willing to fork over $31.49/ Rs. 2,519 for early access, despite the title being essentially free for them.
The early access strategy is a great way for Bethesda to make additional profit out of Starfield’s sales, considering the Xbox Game Pass logo had been slapped onto it since the very beginning. During Microsoft’s trial against the US FTC in June, PlayStation head Jim Ryan claimed that the video game publishers he spoke to aren’t fans of Game Pass and that they unanimously agree with it being ‘value destructive.’
In addition to online multiplayer access and free games, the subscription service makes its first-party exclusives available day-one on the service. Since this clearly affects sales — as evidenced by Xbox raising the prices — adding paid bonuses such as unlocking the game early seems to be the right move. As per VG247, Starfield’s Premium Edition Upgrade is currently the best-selling product across Microsoft stores globally, which is only available to Game Pass subscribers.
In addition to impressive sales figures, players around the world have been experimenting with the game’s limits, with speedrunner ‘Micrologist’ managing to blast their way through Starfield in less than three hours. Meanwhile, others have been trying to manually land their ships onto planets by flying through space for hours, only to simply clip through it and be met with emptiness that isn’t textured properly. Exploration in Starfield has been a subject of discourse, where instead of letting you freely roam around in space, the game forces you to fast travel and warp around to new solar systems or planets. The same goes for lifting off from a planet and heading into space, where you must open a menu and select a destination on the map before a cutscene and a loading screen plays out.
Despite its limitations in exploration, Starfield has been generally well-received, earning an 88 percent Metacritic score for the PC version and an 86 for Xbox Series S/X. As per director Todd Howard, the game is best described as ‘Skyrim in space’, and happens to be Bethesda’s first new universe in 25 years, taking you on a futuristic journey to explore 2330 outer space, its planets, and inhabitants. From humble beginnings as a space miner, you’ll join the Constellation — the last group of space explorers seeking some rare artefacts throughout the galaxy. It’s also got a jail system, religions to follow, and brings back the Persuasion system from Fallout 3 to help advance the story without combat, although a fully pacifist run is impossible.
Starfield is already out in early access for those who own the Premium Edition; for everyone else, the game releases worldwide September 6 across PC, Xbox Series S/X, and Xbox Game Pass.