Starfield, Lies of P and early access: are you interested in paying more to play sooner?

You have probably noticed it too, but more and more often we are seeing the launch of games on the market preceded by a period of early access of a handful of days included as a bonus special editions with a higher price than the standard ones. We mentioned in the title Lies of P and Starfield simply because they are two recent games with a certain following from the community, however in 2023 there are many other examples, such as Diablo 4, Hogwarts Legacy, the PS5 version of Baldur’s Gate 3 or among the upcoming titles Forza Motorsport, to demonstrate that this practice is becoming more and more widespread.

Consequently, we assume that the publishers have done the math and have noticed how the sales of special editions record much higher numbers if they include this bonus, especially if the early access corresponds with the start of the weekend. Which among other things would explain why it is rarely offered as an extra that can be purchased separately.

However, it is difficult to quantify with certainty percentage of players who have decided to pay a little more for early access than the total ones in the absence of precise data. To get an idea, albeit very indicative and approximate, we can quote i data recorded on Steam from hugely popular games like Hogwarts Legacy and Starfield.

The first began early access on February 7th, reaching a peak of over 450,000 concurrent users before launch, subsequently exceeding the ceiling of 600,000 and 800,000 players respectively a few hours and a few days after publication on February 10th. Starfield’s early access, on the other hand, began on September 1st and recorded a peak of almost 240,000 players, while after the global debut on September 6th the SteamDB counter slightly exceeded 330,000 users. In short, it is clear that the possibility of playing a few days in advance appeal to many or in any case it is a welcome extra.

We reiterate that these are data that only offer a partial picture, as they only concern one platform, they count contemporary players and not actual sales and, in the case of games like Starfield, the division between Steam users and subscribed users must be taken into consideration to PC Game Pass.

Is Early Access just a means to sell more expensive editions?

Hogwarts Legacy

Another fact that is impossible to establish but of great importance is: how many players purchased edition “X” mainly because they were attracted by the early access bonus and how many instead considered this extra as a welcome bonus within an abundant package of content but not necessarily the most important?

To explain better, we will use the two previously mentioned titles as an example again. Early access to Hogwarts Legacy was guaranteed with the Deluxe Edition, on sale for 10 euros more than the standard version and which also includes some cosmetic items and a battle arena. So let’s talk about secondary contents which do not affect the experience and the early access bonus in this case can actually represent an element of primary importance for many.

Starfield for its part offers the Premium Edition on Steam a 30 euros more compared to the Standard version, however, it also includes in the price a pack of skins, the art book + digital soundtrack and Shattered Space, the first expansion of the game that will arrive in the future and which basically justifies the price difference on its own. In short, there will certainly have been players convinced by Bethesda’s game to the point of immediately paying extra to buy the expansion in advance as well as those eager enough to get their hands on the game as soon as possible to evaluate access anticipated as the major incentive.

But it is fair to ask to pay more to play first and use this bonus for encourage the purchase of special editions more or less expensive? Clearly no one is pointing a gun at your head and it certainly doesn’t matter if you wait a few days, just as at the same time everyone is free to spend their money as they see fit and evaluate this bonus differently.

So, we leave the word to you. Are you for or against the practice of early access? Have you purchased a special edition in the past because you were mainly or exclusively attracted by this bonus? Let us know in the comments below.

This is an editorial written by a member of the editorial team and is not necessarily representative of the editorial line of

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