Bethesda's Starfield fell slightly behind the decade-old Skyrim in concurrent player count on Steam, showing a drop in interest, just months after its groundbreaking launch.

Starfield Struggles in Player Count against Elder Skyrim on Steam

Not long after its celebrated release, Bethesda's flagship space exploration journey, Starfield, is now lagging behind its older sibling, the 12-year-old Skyrim, in regards to player count on Steam. This comes as a surprising development, just a few months after Starfield was announced as Bethesda's most significant game launch yet.

According to SteamDB, a site that tracks player data, on the 13th of November, Skyrim Special Edition outperformed Starfield by several hundred gamers. At its peak, 12,705 players delved back into the fantastical realms of Tamriel, while Starfield had 12,334 players exploring its vast cosmic horizons. The lead up to this surprising overtaking was a week-long close competition, punctuated by a minute separation of just 200 players.

However, there are clarifications to be made to these numbers. Foremost among them is that Starfield is not a Steam-exclusive game. A significant number of players access it through PC Game Pass. In fact, Phil Spencer, the Xbox boss, reported in September that just days after its release, Starfield saw over a million players on Game Pass, comparing favorably to the concurrent 300,000 Steam players at the time.

Furthermore, Bethesda claims that the space epic attained a colossal six million players just a single day after its full release, thereby marking it as 'the biggest Bethesda game launch of all' which certainly adds more complexity to the narrative. Still, Skyrim's Special Edition is also available on PC Game Pass, which could mean similar player count confrontations are unfolding on that platform too, although the visibility of these stats is currently limited.

It's worth noting that Skyrim's influence on Steam is further amplified by the availability of its various versions; in addition to the Special Edition, there's also the regular version and the Virtual Reality (VR) version. While these versions do not stack up sustained player counts comparable to the Special Edition, their collective impact surely contributes to the integrity of Skyrim's prominence.

Certainly intriguing is the swiftness with which Starfield's player count declined after its extraordinary launch, given that it was just two months ago. To put this into perspective, the original Skyrim release, while hosting fewer players at its initial 2011 launch (peaking at around 290,000), did not see a decrease to 20,000 players until a solid seven years later in 2018.

At the time of writing, Starfield has regained its slight edge over Skyrim on Steam and currently maintains higher peak plays in the last day. However, the close competition suggests that they may continue to rival for players' attention in the intermittent future. Perhaps gamers are not as charmed by the vastness of Bethesda's space exploration venture as initially thought, and these lost players might be a testament to that. However, the situation's fluidity means it could change quickly, reflecting the intrigue and unpredictable nature of the industry.

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Darryl Polo

Hey there! I'm Darryl Polo, and I've been deep in the web design and blogging game for over 20 years. It's been a wild journey, evolving with the digital age, crafting websites, and sharing stories online. But hey, when I'm not behind the screen, you'll likely spot me rocking my all-time favorite kicks, the Air Jordan 4s. And after a day of design? Nothing beats unwinding with some Call of Duty action or diving into platformer games. It's all about balance, right? Pixels by day, platforms by night!

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