Starfield: Early Access Release Time and How to Join

Want to play Starfield a few days early? You'll have to shell out a few more credits for the luxury.

Photo: Xbox Game Studios

Gamers have been waiting for Bethesda’s Starfield since 2018, and a lot has happened since then. Most notably, Microsoft purchased Bethesda’s parent company, ZeniMax Media, and turned Starfield into an Xbox exclusive along the way. As such, many gamers who have been waiting for Starfield are now using the title as a barometer to judge the merits of that acquisition. While the game will not officially be released for another week, the game’s upcoming Early Access period will allow some people to learn earlier than others if the game is worth the hype. Well, at least they’ll have to chance to learn if they pay a little extra money, that is.

Here’s everything you need to know about Starfield‘s early access period:

Starfield: Early Access Start Time and Release Date

Starfield‘s Early Access period will start on August 31 at 5 PM PT, 6, PM MT, 7 PM CT, and 8 PM ET for Xbox Series X/S and PC gamers. That global release schedule format means that gamers across the ocean can access Starfield‘s Early Access period starting on September 1 at 1 AM BST, 2 AM CEST, 9 AM JST, and all other corresponding global times. If you need a little more info on when the game will be available in your region, be sure to consult this official release time map:

Starfield Release Time Map

As you can see, the nature of this global release schedule means that you will not be able to play any tricks with the clock in order to access Starfield‘s Early Access period even earlier than intended.

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Starfield: How to Join Early Access

Select gamers can play Starfield five days before launch, give or take whether they purchased the game before that date. How does a player become one of those lucky few? By purchasing anything other than the vanilla version of Starfield, naturally.

To join Starfield’s Early Access period, you’ll need to purchase one of the three premium editions of the game. Currently, Starfield comes in four editions: Standard, Digital Premium, Premium Upgrade, and Constellation. The vanilla version, priced at $70, comes with the game and pre-order bonuses, but that’s it. The other three versions include more extras, not the least of which is Early Access.

The Digital Premium costs $99.99, but Bethesda isn’t charging gamers an extra $30 just for an extra five days of gameplay. This version also includes the Constellation skin pack, a digital artbook and soundtrack, and the Shattered Space expansion (when it releases, that is).

The Premium Upgrade, meanwhile, offers exactly what you think it would: all of the extras from the Premium Edition, minus the base game, for $35. That sounds like a bad deal, especially for anyone planning to purchase Starfield, but it is more aimed at gamers who either received a digital copy of the game as a gift or own a Game Pass subscription. The Premium Upgrade also comes in physical form, but it trades Early Access for a Steelbock case and a physical patch (the kind you sow onto a jacket, not bug fixes).

The final and most expensive special edition that provides Early Access is the Constellation Edition. This version costs an astronomical $300 and includes all of the bonuses noted above. The Constellation Edition’s only additional piece of “content” isn’t anything you can use in the game but is instead a game code etched into a physical recreation of an in-game “credit stick,” as well as a limited edition watch and case. However, unlike the other special editions, the Constellation version is physical only and is currently sold out everywhere. Maybe stores will receive extra stock before the launch date, but don’t hold your breath.

If you can’t wait to play Starfield and want to get started on your galactic adventure before most gamers, you can purchase the Premium Edition, but if you have an active Game Pass subscription, the Premium Upgrade might be a better deal. 

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