Starfield’s Presence on Steam Remains Unshaken, Despite Being Available for Free on Xbox Game Pass

Published 09/13/2023, 2:04 AM EDT

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Since its release on October 6, Starfield has been taking fans by storm. This Bethesda space exploration title is available on both PC and Xbox. This game is also available on the Xbox Game Pass, but that doesn’t seem to bother the sale of this game on Steam at all.

So, how is Starfield maintaining its market in the PC realm too? Let’s find out.

Starfield on Steam is standing tall despite GamePass availability


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This space exploration RPG Starfield is available on Game Pass on both consoles and PC. That means if you have an active subscription to Xbox Game Pass, you can hop into the game on both platforms. It’s also a play-anywhere title, so if you buy a digital copy, you can play it on both Xbox and Windows PCs with cross-progression. The story doesn’t end here; the game is also available on Game Pass Cloud. Now you can play this title anywhere on any device, as long as the device supports the Xbox app and has strong internet connections.

Despite all of this, there is no stopping Starfield from storming in on Steam. This game is available right now at full price without any discount, which is $69.99. The Digital Premium Edition Upgrade costs an additional $34.99. Still, this game has a peak concurrent player count of freaking 330,723. This count has broken the long 12-year record of another Bethesda title, The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim’s concurrent player count of 287,411. This GOTY contender just fell short of another Bethesda title, Fallout 4’s 472,962, which sits in 16th place overall.


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Starfield is currently the sixth most played game on Steam, behind the usual Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, PUBG, Apex Legends, and its big 2023 RPG competition, Baldur’s Gate 3.

The reason behind Steam’s dominance


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There might be some potential reasons for this dominance of Starfield on Steam. Starfield players fare way better on PC than on Xbox. On consoles, this game is capped at 30 fps, but there is no frame rate limitation on PC. Although Steam is not the only way to play Starfield on PC, the Xbox app and cloud are there, but here comes the modding part. Mods can only be used if you are playing it on Steam. The problem is that the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) version of Starfield that is distributed through the Microsoft Store and PC Game Pass is not compatible with the Starfield Script Extender (SFSE), which is important for modding in the game.

The major reason SFSE does not work on the Xbox or PC Game Pass is because those versions UWP executable files are different from the Steam version. Also, it is not easy to develop third-party software to bring libraries into UWP processes, and this is done by design for security reasons.


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So, that was it. Starfield has been running at full throttle despite being available for free on Game Pass. The staggering concurrent player count is a big proof of it. And the reason behind this huge success in Stean lies in the modding of the game.

Watch This Story: Is Starfield’s Trait System Designed To Make The Game More Challenging?


Written by:

Nilendu Brahma


One take at a time

Nilendu Brahma is an eSports Content Writer at EssentiallySports, bringing his passion for gaming and sports journalism to the forefront. With a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, Nilendu combines his love for writing with his expertise in eSports. As a die-hard Barcelona fan and a cricket fanatic, he understands the pulse of sports enthusiasts.
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Edited by:

Ananya Giri