When Bethesda started work on Starfield, the company was still a high-profile third-party developer. However, that status changed in 2020 when Microsoft purchased ZeniMax Media and all its subsidiaries (including Bethesda). This acquisition changed the course of Starfield and stopped all progress on the PlayStation version of the game. But on the bright side (for Xbox gamers), at least now Starfield is coming to Game Pass.
Starfield is technically scheduled to release on Game Pass on September 6, but for gamers in certain regions, Starfield will actually be available starting on September 5 at 5 PM PDT/8 PM EST. At least that’s the currently listed release date for the retail version of Starfield, and since Starfield will release “day one” on Game Pass, Game Pass subscribers can stick to that schedule as well. Even better, Starfield will be available as a Day One addition to both the Xbox and PC versions of Game Pass, so anyone with a subscription to that service and the necessary hardware will be able to start playing the game right away regardless of their (supported) platform preference.
If you need a little more info on when, exactly, Starfield is releasing on Game Pass in your region, this map should help:
Unfortunately, those hoping to try Game Pass (and Starfield) before committing to either just lost their best way to do so. Microsoft quietly removed the $1 Game Pass trial option, which would have given prospective Starfield players 14 days of playtime. That wouldn’t have been anywhere near enough to complete Starfield, but it would have helped players decide if purchasing a Game Pass subscription, or purchasing Starfield, outright is a worthwhile investment.
While Game Pass includes access to Starfield as part of the service’s subscription fee, subscribers won’t get full preferential treatment for the game unless they pay extra. Subscribing to any Game Pass tier will grandfather players into Starfield’s pre-order content, which includes some extra weapon skins, but Bethesda and Microsoft are also offering a special Early Access period that Game Pass subscribers will not automatically have access to.
Anyone who purchased the Digital Premium, Premium Upgrade, or Constellation editions of Starfield can play the game starting August 31 at 5 PM PDT/8 PM EST (or September 1st depending on your global time zone). What does that have to do with Game Pass? Since players can use their active Game Pass subscriptions to access Starfield, they only need to purchase the Premium Upgrade for all the other additional content, including Early Access. This transaction will cost a one-time purchase of $35 on top of your monthly subscription fees. Seems like a lot of money for a five-day head start, but the upgrade comes with the Shattered Space expansion, which will be a separate purchase for everyone who buys the base game or just plays it through Game Pass.
If you plan on playing Starfield through Game Pass and have an active subscription, you are all ready to play the game. Whether or not you plan on playing during Early Access, however, you should probably pre-load Starfield right now. After all, you’re looking at a 140 GB download, so you better get started right now before you find yourself waiting even longer for one of the most anticipated games of the year.