Starfield’s audience continues to grow, with Bethesda planning to further support the game. However, players are now fuming over paid mods sold by the studio.

Starfield hits 14 million players, but recent reviews drop to 28% positive due to paid mods backlash

Image from a paid Starfield quest sold by Bethesda

Starfield reaches a new milestone

Bethesda Game Studios director Todd Howard shared the stats in an interview with MrMattyPlays. Starfield has now over 14 million across Xbox Series X|S, PC, and Game Pass. It is still unclear how many copies of the game were sold to customers.

Howard noted that with Starfield’s success, Bethesda has three three big franchises that it should nurture. So the company has no plans for new IPs on the horizon.

“It’s 14 million players and the average playtime is still over 40 hours a player,” he said. “It’s a staggering amount of time in game. So, taking care of each of those franchises and all those players, we have our hands full right now and just hope to do the best that we can across the studio for all of it.”

Starfield surpassed 6 million players in just two days after its global launch on September 6, 2023 (or a week if we take into account the advanced access period). It crossed the 10 million mark in the next two weeks, making it the second-biggest Xbox game launch of this console generation, behind only Forza Horizon (it reached 10 million players in about a week).

As of December 20, 2023, Starfield had 13 million players across all platforms. This means the game took about six months to attract another million users.

Adding paid mods to Starfield sparks backlash

On June 9, Bethesda released a major update for Starfield, introducing the Creation Kit editor and the new Creations menu with various mods and items such as skins and weapons. This caused a backlash from the community, especially regarding paid mods sold within the game.

Bethesda currently sells six “creations” for virtual currency. For example, there is a module that costs 1,000 Creation Credits ($10). Players can also purchase a new quest for 700 credits, but the issue is that they can’t just pay $7 for it as the currency is only sold in packs (e.g. 500, 1,000, 2,700 etc.) So users will have to spend at least $10 to get the $7 quest.

Trackers Alliance: The Vulture quest sold for $7 (in fact, $10)

As a result, Starfield once again faced with review bombing from the community. Its overall rating on Steam is still “Mixed” (60% of the 100k reviews are positive), but its recent score dropped to “Mostly Negative,” with only 28% of the 2,360 reviews in the last 30 days being positive.

Most players who recently left negative reviews criticized Bethesda pushing the concept of curated paid mods. The company previously faced backlash over similar practices used in other games like Skyrim and Fallout 4.

“I wasn’t going to say anything about the [Creation club] stuff until I learnt that Bethesda made their own ‘mods’ and then charged for them,” one user wrote on June 17. “Basically adding microtransactions to a paid game known to not have content.”

PC players still have an option to download mods and other UGC stuff on Nexus Mods and similar platforms for free, but many users think Bethesda should first fix Starfield before charging for curated “creations” within the game.

Todd Howard addressed the controversy in the aforementioned interview with MrMattyPlays, saying that Bethesda hears that feedback. “First of all, that stuff gets priced based on things that we’ve done before, both in Creation Club and then with Fallout 76, and we’re always trying to be looking at what else is out there, make sure we’re giving value to everybody, and where we’re not, we definitely will adjust,” he noted.

Howard specifically mentioned the Trackers Alliance pack, saying that the studio made a mistake with its monetization. He said Bethesda will revise the way it delivers such content, adding that their main goal is to support third-party creators by giving them a platform where they can earn monetary rewards for their creations.

Got a story you'd like to share? Reach us at [email protected]