Starfield will have physical discs after all, Bethesda confirms

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Update, June 26: Bethesda has now confirmed that the Starfield Standard Edition will include a physical disc, but it appears that's not the case for the more expensive Premium and Constellation Editions.

Bethesda's official support account has tweeted a clarification, noting that there is a "game disc included with physical purchases of Xbox Standard Edition." (Here's hoping the entire game is on the disc, unlike what happened with Xbox's own Halo Infinite.) As you'd expect, the PC Standard Edition simply comes with a code in a box.

What you might not expect, however, is that even the Xbox versions of the Premium Edition and Constellation Edition simply come with a game code. That makes some amount of sense since these versions offer five days of early access to Starfield, but they also come with a steelbook display case. Yes, that's an empty steelbook case for you to put on your shelf.

Update, June 25: A tweet from Bethesda Español suggests that physical discs of Starfield will be sold, but that the Starfield Constellation Edition will only offer a digital code.

That tweet (translated via Google), posted on June 13, said that the presence of a physical disc "depends on the edition," stating that the Standard Edition "has a disc, while the Constellation Edition has a code engraved on a collector's item."

That's potentially why the tweet from earlier today was deleted. We've reached out to Bethesda for further confirmation.

Original story: A since-deleted tweet from a Bethesda customer support representative confirmed over the weekend that all physical editions for Starfield will "include a code for the chosen platform", further emphasizing: "there are no physical discs".  

Although the tweet has been deleted, a copy of the message is still available via the online archive site, Wayback Machine.

Whilst some fans are waiting for formal confirmation from Bethesda – it's possible the tweet was wholly inaccurate, which is why it was taken down so quickly – others have slammed the decision, asking: "Y'all really going to mail me an empty case for $70??"

"It [sic] this is true, I’m cancelling my preorder of the standard edition and premium upgrade," added another unhappy fan. "The entire reason I’m buying the game is for the physical copy, if they only want my Gamepass money, so be it, I guess."

At the time of writing, Bethesda has yet to confirm either way, and the support account that posted the news has yet to comment on why the tweet was deleted. 

ICYMI, Bethesda has once again recruited a new designer from the volunteer team developing an ambitious Fallout mod.

In an announcement posted to Fallout London's Discord and social media channels, project manager "Prilladog" celebrated "PatchworkProfessor's" new position, promising that the team would be "cheering [him] on every step of the way".

In other news, part of the reason Microsoft bought Bethesda and its parent company ZeniMax Media was out of fear that Sony might make Starfield a timed PS5 exclusive.

Shortly before Microsoft acquired ZeniMax and Bethesda, Sony secured timed exclusivity for games like Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo. Those deals were honored even after the buyout went through, and it was a full year before either of those games came to Xbox, despite their developers becoming first-party Xbox studios. In the hearings over the Xbox Activision deal, Xbox boss Phil Spencer confirmed that there were rumblings that the same thing might happen to Starfield.

Other revelations from the hearings also include the fact that Xbox hasn't decided if The Elder Scrolls 6 will be an exclusive yet.

Vikki Blake
Weekend Reporter, GamesRadar+

Vikki Blake is GamesRadar+'s Weekend Reporter. Vikki works tirelessly to ensure that you have something to read on the days of the week beginning with 'S', and can also be found contributing to outlets including the BBC, Eurogamer, and Vikki also runs a weekly games column at NME, and can be frequently found talking about Destiny 2 and Silent Hill on Twitter.