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Are You Playing Starfield? Over 11 Million Gamers Are, Says Microsoft CEO

Starfield, Skyrim developer Bethesda’s latest release, became the top best-selling premium game in dollar sales since its release on September 6.

According to Circana data, Starfield was the top paid game last month, beating out Warner Bros. Games’ Mortal Kombat 1, EA Sports FC 24, and Madden NFL 24. At time of writing, Starfield is also the seventh best-selling premium game of the year, selling more copies than Bandai Namco’s Elden Ring and Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XVI, to name a few. 

Microsoft, which owns Xbox and Bethesda, confirmed that Starfield’s release was great for its business, spiking the number of Xbox Game Pass subscribers. In its quarterly earnings call Tuesday, Microsoft CFO Amy Hood said that Microsoft’s gaming division saw a 9% spike in revenue—primarily due to Starfield’s release and a concurrent jump in Xbox Game Pass subscriptions (Starfield is included in Game Pass).

“More than 11 million people have played the game to date,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella shared of Starfield during the earnings call. “Nearly half of hours played have been on PC, and on launch day, we set a record for the most Game Pass subscriptions added on a single day ever.”

Within those 11 million players, Starfield saw a substantial 6 million of that number within its first day. The Starfield team shared on Twitter that Starfield became Bethesda’s biggest game launch of all time within 24 hours of launch.

Considering Bethesda is also behind well-known games like Fallout 76 and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, it’s an especially notable achievement.

Bruce Nesmith, a former Bethesda game designer who worked on Skyrim and Starfield’s early development, told MinnMax in an interview this week that he’s “pleased as punch” by the audience reaction to the game.

“As a new IP, it was actually far more challenging than doing Skyrim, or the Fallouts,” Nesmith said. “There’s so much new stuff you have to create for new IP. So the hurdles are higher.”

Starfield is only available on Xbox consoles and Windows PCs. The game peaked at over 330,000 concurrent players on Steam during its early-access period, according to Steamdb data, then saw one million players online on launch day. Starfield has around 37,000 concurrent active players at time of writing. 

The game has already broken into Steam’s top 100 bestselling games and currently sits in 55th place, with roughly 68% of Steam reviews showing a positive score. Starfield has also maintained something of an audience on livestreaming site Twitch, with around 1,300 concurrent viewers watching streamers play the title.

While some players spend hours exploring space and completing can’t-miss quests in Starfield, others are releasing mods for the title like this Thomas the Tank Engine mod, which is sure to inspire laughter—or fear—in the hearts of even the most seasoned gamers. 

Edited by Ryan Ozawa.

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