Is Starfield living up to its own hype?

Starfield is the first new universe that Bethesda released after two decades. It indeed created much buzz in the gamer community, but did the press coverage of the game match the hype? Game marketing analytics company Fancensus looked into the question.
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Fancensus, a UK-based company, specializes in tracking and analyzing diverse data, including press, social, commercial, and consumer data. It collaborates with various AAA publishers and entertainment brands to assist them in comprehending and assessing the effectiveness of their retail, marketing, and PR endeavors.

The much-anticipated game Starfield, the first new intellectual property (IP) from Bethesda in over two decades, has been subjected to a thorough post-launch analysis by the game marketing analytics company Fancensus. As the gaming world eagerly awaited Starfield’s release in 2023, Fancensus used its Fusion platform to track the game’s press coverage before and after its launch.

In the weeks leading up to its release, Starfield generated significant buzz in the media. It received the most headlines and media mentions during Gamescom, contributing to substantial pre-launch coverage. Over the 14 days preceding the game’s launch, Starfield secured the highest press coverage, surpassing other titles. Notably, it garnered 55% more articles than Diablo 4, which ranked third in terms of coverage. Starfield held the top position with a total of 18,500 articles. This extensive coverage was likely influenced by its proximity to Gamescom.

However, four days after the game’s release, Starfield’s review scores told a different story. Bethesda chose not to provide review codes to some outlets, including Eurogamer and The Guardian, creating controversy in the gaming community. Consequently, Starfield received the lowest review score among significant releases this year, averaging 87.52. In contrast, Zelda Tears of the Kingdom achieved the highest score at 95.51, with 36% of reviewers awarding it a perfect score. Starfield received a perfect score from only 10.7% of reviewers. Baldur’s Gate 3, another game with fewer reviews than Starfield, received nearly triple the number of perfect review scores at 27.9%.

While Starfield performed better in the press than some recent Bethesda-published games, such as Redfall and Hi-Fi Rush, it may have yet to meet the high expectations set by its significant pre-launch hype. Although coverage leading up to Gamescom suggested that Starfield might become the best-reviewed game of the year, Zelda Tears of the Kingdom retained the top position.

One contributing factor to Starfield’s relatively lower number of reviews could be its platform availability. The game is not accessible on the PS5 or Switch, potentially limiting its reach. Furthermore, Bethesda’s decision to delay or withhold early review codes may have negatively impacted the figures, as journalists couldn’t publish their reviews on launch day.

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