Starfield drops from Steam’s best-seller list mere months after release

  • Starfield is no longer one of Steam’s top-selling nor most-played games just four months after launch.
  • The game was slated to be Bethesda’s next major hit, costing a reported $400 million to make with a dev time of eight years.
  • It now sits as the 245th best-selling game on the platform, with just under 10 000 players worldwide on PC.

Releasing worldwide just in September last year, the latest mega-project from Bethesda, one of the world’s largest and most influential game developers, Starfield has dropped from both the global Steam 100 best-seller and most-played lists. Previous titles from the studio like Skyrim and Fallout 76 still linger on these lists.

In fact, Starfield is the 245th best-selling game on Steam right now, beating 2015’s RPG masterpiece The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and selling just below indie shooter Friends vs Friends.

It took us a while to find it.

Starfield was one of the biggest games of 2023 – a year filled with big games – and reportedly cost $400 million to produce, according to Exputer citing gaming industry insider David Reitman. It took eight years to develop.

Other major titles from last year like Baldur’s Gate 3, Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty, Street Fighter 6 and Diablo IV are still in the top 100 sellers on the digital marketplace. Much older games like Grand Theft Auto V, Monster Hunter World, Elden Ring, Red Dead Redemption 2 and many more are beating Starfield in sales, at least on PC, by a considerable margin.

The first major release from Bethesda following its acquisition by Microsoft, and slated to be a mover of Xbox Game Pass subscriptions, the PC port of the game on Steam is currently the developer’s worst reviewed game on the platform. Even Fallout 76, which launched as an utter disaster, is rated better than Starfield currently with mostly positive recent reviews.

Selling for nearly R1 400, the space-fairing RPG has mostly negative recent reviews, with a mixed all-time rating.

Early gameplay footage of Starfield was able to generate excitement, but it became apparent quite quickly that, despite comments that the game would be a passion project from director Todd Howard, and that it was an RPG “20 years in the making”, Starfield has glaring issues that have failed to attract consistent sales on PC.

However, Starfield was not meant to be a PC hit like the studio’s previous titles. It was meant to move subscriptions, and according to Forbes, it managed just that. In October last year Microsoft said that the launch of the game led to the biggest single day of Game Pass sign-ups in the service’s history. Microsoft has yet to release the latest amount of Game Pass subscriptions it manages.

Because of this we don’t know just how many are playing the game on Xbox, but it is likely that the trend has jumped platform since it is the game game on both.

At that time Forbes pointed to Starfield’s concurrent player base on Steam as a sign of the game’s success, having around 60 000 at the time the article was written. As of right now, Starfield has 9 438 players in game according to the Steam database. In comparison, Baldur’s Gate 3 which was released a month earlier currently has 190 553 in game.

A Steam chart of Starfield’s lifetime playerbase tells of a distinct exodus over just four months.

Why PC players are dropping Starfield

Bethesda’s lack of major patches have not helped to keep players interested in the title, despite a vocal community asking for features to make their experience better. One of which is for on-planet vehicles so that less time is spent walking to points of interest in empty worlds.

Other complaints include the game’s pre-generated nature ensuring that players see repeated content as they play. They may come across the same dungeons and storylines several times during a play session. Players have maligned the game’s writing, combat, space travel, exploration (or lack thereof), and many other aspects.

Some players have said that the game needs more work, but after eight years of dev time, the question is how many more hours is Bethesda willing to give to Starfield.

[Image – Steam]


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