Speaking at the 2023 Comic Con Experience in São Paulo last week (thanks GamesRadar), Spencer said that he's confident people will be playing Starfield for "many, many years". He also stated that Microsoft and Bethesda are going to accomplish this with frequent updates, such as the games's Shattered Space expansion, and through the power of the game's community, giving them modding tools to create their own content.
"So, a ton of confidence that, for many, many years, Starfield will be [the] same, very high in the gameplay,"
Spencer goes on to praise Bethesda's games, saying that they're playgrounds in which "people can do so much". He then brings up both Skyrim and the Fallout titles as examples of this, and says that this trend is "gonna continue with Starfield". Unfortunately for Spencer and Bethesda, Starfield is nowhere near as beloved or critically acclaimed as either of those franchises right now.
Starfield has been bleeding players quite regularly since launch, and while that is natural due to it being a single player game, it's currently being outperformed by the game Spencer is comparing it to. Skyrim recently recorded a 24-hour player peak of 23,585, with Starfield trailing at just 19,551, despite the fact that Skyrim is 11 years older than Starfield. Fallout 4 isn't too far behind either, with a 24-hour player peak of 16,818.
Both games have obviously had more updates than Starfield, but the fact that Skyrim is still outperforming it doesn't really inspire confidence in the game's longevity. Bethesda will need to be pretty swift with those modding tools and expansions if it wants to stop the rot, and there's every chance that fan-requested features such as buildable space stations and improved inventory management may keep player numbers steady.
For now, Bethesda will be hoping that Starfield has the ability to beat out Baldur's Gate 3 for Best RPG during The Game Awards this year, the only award that it was actually nominated for. It was also up for Player's Voice, an award which lets randomers vote for their favorite games, though it didn't actually make it out of the first round of voting. Another sign that the game's lifespan may not be as long as Spencer hopes it will be.
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