Phil Spencer wants Starfield to become Bethesda’s GOAT

Okay, people, we all know what a GOAT is, right? And no, I don’t mean that dumb-looking horned thing you wanted to bash skulls with when you were a stupid, hormonal teenager. Of course, I’m referring to Greatest Of All Times, that one game that outbests every other title around. Every publisher has a GOAT, and for Bethesda, Skyrim is the top contender. But not for long, if you ask Xbox baws Phil Spencer. If all goes to his plan, Starfield is going to blow any Elder Scrolls or Fallout game straight out of the water. Now that’s what I call shooting for the stars.

To achieve that, Bethesda – and therefore also Microsoft – theoretically needs a miracle to happen. To give you an idea, Skyrim has sold over 30 million copies since 2011 and needed every possible platform to get there. I mean, Skyrim has been ported to almost every device except a goddamn toaster oven. Starfield, on the other hand, won’t even come to PlayStation, the platform that generally always outperformed Xbox when it comes to sales.

But even with these facts tallied up, Phil Spencer truly believes that Starfield can become the most-played Bethesda game ever made. And Game Pass is going to help him realize that vision. With 25 million subscribers to date, Game Pass opens up doors to record-breaking “sales”. To give you some examples, Spencer explained to Axios reporter Stephen Totilo how that works.

“I love the Forza 5 and Halo stats…I love how many people played Psychonauts 2 vs. Psychonauts 1.”

“So, when I look at the teams, when Todd and I talk about Starfield, it’s: ‘How do we make sure this is the most-played Todd Howard game ever?’”

“Those [Halo and Forza] are the most played games in those franchises because we made them available on more screens than we ever have, through more business models than we’ve ever made them available.”

What Phil is trying to say is that Game Pass lowers the threshold for playing a new game because nothing is standing in your way of giving it a go. Since all you’re paying for is your subscription and nothing more, downloading a game “just for the heck of it” with no strings attached is easy with Game Pass. So to that extent, chances are that millions of Game Passers will download and play Starfield to give it a whirl. It’s not like you lose 70 bucks if it doesn’t turn out to be your thing. So theoretically, if every Game Pass member downs and plays Starfield, it’s just 5 milli short of beating Skyrim. And it won’t even need any other platform but Xbox and PC to do it.

See? That’s why Phil Spencer loves Game Pass. Even if others find it to be an unsustainable concept. Game Pass is Phil’s gateway to reaching millions and millions of gamers worldwide. And believe me, if the Activision Blizzard deal gets sealed, he’s going to use his super-sustainable Game Pass to spread that portfolio out as well.

“Yeah, I want more people to be playing WoW in five years that are playing today. I want more people to be playing Call of Duty in five years, more people to be playing Candy Crush in five years, because we’ve made it more accessible to more people.”