Starfield hits 12 million players as Phil Spencer eyes another Skyrim-sized hit

Starfield cockpit
(Image credit: Bethesda)

12 million people have played the spacefaring Starfield, just three months after takeoff. 

Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer revealed the big number during this year’s Brazil-based entertainment convention CCXP. “Starfield has been awesome,” notes Spencer in an interview from the event. “One of the special things about my job is that I get to play games very early in development,” he continues, “in fact, I was playing Starfield about this time last year… and I could tell when I was playing - and from the fact that I couldn't stop playing - that this was probably gonna be a pretty special game.”

That suspicion seems to have come true since the space epic reached 12 million players and sits in the company’s “top ten most played games from our studios.” Spencer didn’t reveal the split between people who bought the game versus those who just downloaded on Game Pass, though the game did drive the subscription service to its biggest “single day ever.”

See more

Starfield still has a ways to go before it outshines its two big, older siblings. Skyrim has sold 60 million copies since its launch a decade ago, while the apocalyptic Fallout 4 has sold 25 million - and Spencer is hoping the studio can repeat that magic trick a third time.

When asked about whether he smells Skyrim-level success for Starfield, Spencer simply replies “That’s our goal.” He later explains that Todd Howard and the team want “people who love space and space exploration” to stick with Starfield just as long as fantasy lovers have stuck with Skyrim. “A ton of confidence that for many, many years, Starfield will be sitting very high.”

Bethesda is aiming for that longevity through the upcoming Shattered Space expansion and official mod support, according to the Xbox boss. Mods certainly gave Skyrim some immortal legs. 

Finished exploring the dark void? FInd out everything you need to know about Starfield’s New Game Plus mode.

Freelance contributor

Kaan freelances for various websites including Rock Paper Shotgun, Eurogamer, and this one, Gamesradar. He particularly enjoys writing about spooky indies, throwback RPGs, and anything that's vaguely silly. Also has an English Literature and Film Studies degree that he'll soon forget.