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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Starfield breaks new player record, but fails to hit biggest sales of the year

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Starfield is a huge success, but the title doesn’t quite make it to the top of games sold shortly after release.

Starfield’s player base is growing, growing and growing – at least that’s what Bethesda is reporting. The sci-fi role-playing game is by far the publisher’s most successful launch of all time in terms of pure player base size. On platform X, once called Twitter, they now posted to celebrate reaching the 10 million player mark:

Already recently we reported on cracking the 6 million mark. And yet, even with all its success, the leader in terms of players after a short time, Starfield can not usurp. There is a top dog with magic skin that continues to sit firmly in the broom saddle: Hogwarts Legacy.

Wingardium Leviosa Sales

The game about the legendary school of wizardry in the middle of the Scottish mountains, managed – as we also reported – to have sold 12 million units after two weeks, which exceeded all expectations of Warner Bros.

Note: The comparison also raises problems, however. Sales figures do not equate one-to-one with the figure for Starfield, which refers specifically to players. In particular, regarding a point addressed further below, Game Pass. Because Starfield’s success is harder to read on Steam.

Gamer yes, but where?

As the following graph shows, these masses of players are not coming from Steam in a matter of days. Here, the curve reached its previous peak around September 10. Since then, the curve has been dropping, not drastically, but already noticeable.

(Player numbers of Starfield on Steam, source: steamdb)
(Player numbers of Starfield on Steam, source: steamdb)

Probably it’s because of the Game Pass: The explanation for the extreme numbers with a decreasing amount of players on Steam as the main platform of PC gaming is probably the Game Pass. Because every subscriber gets Starfield there without further costs for the Xbox series consoles as well as for the PC. This alone means that thousands of people have installed the game just to have a look at it.

But it remains questionable how many of them have actually spent time in the world of Starfield. Perhaps Bethesda will publish average playtimes at some point, but they should be aware that these probably seem less impressive than the sheer number of people who have started the game at least once.

So is the number complete humbug? No, because no one should forget the exclusivity of Starfield on PC and for the Xbox series consoles. Previous releases from Bethesda were each on PC as well as Sony and Microsoft hardware platforms alike.

Thus, this number remains significant – as did the 6 million – and clearly shows how eagerly Starfield has been awaited by the gaming community, despite the recent release of competition in recent weeks.

And how do you play Starfield? Or are you not even part of those 10 million? If not, why? What’s stopping you from giving the title a look? Do you not have a Game Pass subscription either? Are you surprised by the huge player numbers, or do you think it’s bound to happen if the game ends up on Game Pass? Feel free to write us your thoughts in the comments!


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