Since 2018, Microsoft has made a very strong promise with Xbox Game Pass, its subscription video game catalog. Like Netflix, Microsoft promises that its in-house productions, from Zenimax Bethesda or Xbox Game Studios, will be available as soon as they are released on the service.
In other words, rather than paying 80 euros for a game, you have the choice of subscribing for a month from 9.99 euros and playing the full game. This is all the stronger as a strategy since the bulk of a game’s sales are usually made when it is launched. With this promise, Microsoft therefore takes the risk of reducing sales of its games in favor of an increase in the number of subscribers.
Starfield is not available in Game Pass at launch
But now, for a few months, Microsoft has discreetly reneged on its promise. For some of its big titles, the firm no longer offers day one for the Xbox Game Pass, or at least no longer really. In fact, the game Starfield is available since this morning September 1st on Steam and Xbox, but only for the purchase of a premium version of the game.
The Game Pass version corresponds to the standard version, which is scheduled for release on September 5. If you are subscribed to the service and want to play now, the firm has everything planned with its Starfield Premium Edition Upgrade marketed at 34.99 euros. This DLC allows you to upgrade the Game Pass version of the game to the Premium version and therefore start the adventure now. Microsoft had done this for the launch of Forza Horizon 5.
As you will have understood, there is now a two-speed launch on Microsoft’s side for large releases. First a launch for those who put their hands in the wallet to buy the game, then a launch a few days later on the Xbox Game Pass.
Obviously, in order not to betray its promise, Microsoft speaks of a ” early access but we twist somewhat what this term usually covers. In general, an early access is done over several months, even several years, to help the development of the game. For example, the early access of Baldur’s Gate 3 has been available since October 2020, while the game was launched on August 3, 2023 on PC.
The numbers prove Microsoft right
In the early hours of the game’s early launch on Steam, Starfield recorded some 234,502 players simultaneously connected to the title. It is obviously necessary to remove the codes offered to influencers and the press, who may have received the game late, but this must represent a simple drop in this large number.
So many players who have therefore agreed to buy the premium edition at 99.99 euros to be able to play it on Steam from September 1. This figure also does not include players connected directly to Xbox who were able to make the same purchase.
With these first results, Microsoft will undoubtedly have the will to continue this paid early access strategy a few days before the game’s release.