How To Play ‘Starfield’ Early Access With Or Without Xbox Game Pass

Post updated on 9.1.23. See updates below.

The day is almost upon us. Starfield, Bethesda’s sprawling space adventure RPG, is about to land on Xbox Series X|S and PC, finally giving Xbox a one-up on Sony’s ever-dominant PlayStation platform.

If you’re eager to blast off into the massive universe Bethesda has created, you have a few different options. You can:

If you pick that last option, you get to play Starfield just about a week before it launches. You’ll gain access to the game starting on August 31st at 5pm PT / 8pm ET, though depending on your time zone this could translate to September 1st.

One important thing to note for Game Pass subscribers: If you have a Game Pass subscription you can purchase the $35 Premium Upgrade and gain entry to the Early Access period. Sure, you’re paying $35 to get a few extra days with a game that could take weeks (or, um, years even) to finish.

The Premium Edition also comes with some special in-game items as well as the Shattered Space Story Expansion when that comes out, plus some other goodies.

While Microsoft has (wisely) turned off its $1 Game Pass trial, you can still save money by signing up for the service and purchasing the Premium Upgrade. A month of standard Game Pass is $10.99 and Ultimate is $16.99. Add either of those numbers to $35 and you still save money compared to either the $69.99 Standard Edition or the $99.99 Premium Edition. Plus you get Early Access!

So, that’s my good deed for the day. You’re welcome.

Enjoy Starfield, folks!

Update: Reviews Are In!

Starfield reviews are in and make a pretty solid case that hopping into the Early Access period is probably worth your while, especially if you follow the tips above to get the very best deal on the Premium Edition.

Our own Paul Tassi gave the game a 9.5/10 writing:

I really do love this game. Yes, Bethesda doesn’t match some of its peers in many places, but in part that’s because it’s trying to do everything, all at once. But if you wanted a giant Bethesda RPG set in space with better combat and a whole lot of time to level and build things and explore and find secrets, yeah, this is it. They did it. Enjoy.

Check out Paul’s 10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Playing Starfield guide here.

The game is currently rocking a very respectable 87/100 on Metacritic for Xbox Series X and 88/100 on PC.

These averages are dragged down by some surprising 7/10 scores from—of all places—IGN and GameSpot. A truly ridiculous 5/10 from Paste Magazine appears to have been excluded from Metacritic’s tally, which is for the best. There’s no way this game deserves a failing grade, even if it isn’t perfect.

All told, Starfield is a major hit with critics and it seems gamers are having a blast as well, though there are no user reviews on Metacritic or Steam yet. It appears Bethesda has really blasted off into outer space with this one—it’s not even that buggy! Will wonders never cease?

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