Starfield breaks 1 million concurrent players across all platforms: a 'great milestone,' Phil Spencer says

Starfield character stands with his hands on his hips in front of a futuristic cityscape
(Image credit: Bethesda Softworks)

Starfield is now in full release, and—surprise!—it's a hit: Shortly after it went into release on September 6, Xbox boss Phil Spencer said on Twitter that Starfield had surpassed a "great milestone" of one million concurrent players across all platforms. That's a big number for sure, but is it really a high water mark of note? As the Doctor once said, it depends on the context.

"Starfield exceeded 1 million concurrent players across all platforms today," Spencer tweeted. "Thanks to all the players who helped us reach this great milestone and congrats to the @BethesdaStudios."

(Image credit: Phil Spencer (Twitter))

By way of comparison, SteamDB says Baldur's Gate 3 peaked at 875,000, well below Starfield's number. But that's strictly on Steam, whereas the Starfield concurrent number, as Spencer noted, also includes the Xbox Series X/S version and the Microsoft Store edition. Cyberpunk 2077, Dota 2, Lost Ark, and CS:GO have all surpassed the one million concurrent user record—and again, all of them exclusively on Steam—while PUBG approached a staggering 3.3 million concurrents on Steam back in 2018.

It also bears remembering—without malice, this is strictly to provide context—that Starfield is available on Game Pass. That makes it readily available to millions of people who might not be interested enough to buy it, but may just be curious enough to fire it up if it's in their library anyway. Microsoft said in January 2022 that more than 25 million people had subscribed to Xbox Game Pass, and a statement provided by Sony in November 2022 as part of its legal dispute with Microsoft over the proposed Activision Blizzard acquisition claimed that number had grown to more than 29 million.

Given the size of that potential audience, you might expect that the Starfield concurrent player count would actually be quite a bit higher. But there's one other factor to consider: Starfield went into full release on a Wednesday, and it still hasn't got a proper weekend under its belt. Looping back to Baldur's Gate 3, that game came out very strong when it left early access on August 3 but didn't really blast off until a couple days later, when the weekend arrived—and subsequent concurrent player peaks have all occurred, very reliably, on the weekends following.

And, according to a Bethesda tweet that followed Spencer's, Starfield has been launched by over 6 million total players, "making it the biggest Bethesda game launch of all time." If that's the case, that concurrent milestone ought to rise this weekend.

(Image credit: Bethesda)

For now, then, Starfield is lagging behind both Fallout 4 and Skyrim in terms of peak concurrent players, but it probably hasn't really hit its stride yet, either. So what does it all mean in the end? Starfield is a good game, people like it a lot, Phil is happy, and even if a million people playing at once isn't the towering achievement it used to be, it's a fun number and a pretty good place to start.

(Image credit: BBC Studios)
Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.