Bethesda Is Sending Out A Lot Of ‘Starfield’ Review Copies, And Sending Them Early

StarfieldBethesdaWhile Bethesda has not been the fondest of review copies in the past, at one point ceasing the process of pre-launch press copies altogether, that appears to have changed in a significant way for Starfield.

I reported earlier this week that the Starfield review embargo is at noon on August 31, where at least in the US it’s only eight hours before the game launches in Early Access. Sometimes when games do this, the idea is that they are trying to hide something. But in Bethesda’s case, no matter they game, they almost always do day-before or day-of embargoes, so that’s pretty standard.

What isn’t standard these days are non-Nintendo companies sending out review copies a full two weeks before launch. Three weeks before non-Early Access launch, in this case. Yes, that makes sense for a sprawling game like Starfield, but you would be surprised at how often companies barely give anyone enough time to review even massive games (like Baldur’s Gate and its four day review copy to embargo window). I literally injured my hand trying to crank out sixty hours of Mass Effect Andromeda in like five days for that review embargo.

But past that, what I’m also noticing is that a lot of people are getting review codes. For many games, it’s not that unusual for even smaller outlets to land copies, hence the dozens and dozens of reviews you see at launch for big titles. But I am also noticing a very big influencer push. While major content creators might grab games early, often there are “waves” where press gets the game first, then much, much closer to launch, YouTubers and streamers may get codes. And often smaller creators are left out.
The sandwiches are review copiesBethesda
With Starfield, I am seeing both big and small channels getting copies of the game. Let me tell you, even being with a “known” outlet and having a decent following, it can be hard for me to grab AAA codes some time. But Starfield codes are being thrown around widely. I saw a creator with like 3K YouTube subscribers and 6K Twitch followers get one, for instance. One reason mass codes are not distributed often is the potential for leaks, including among, no offense, content creators who may have looser rules that game outlets.

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As for me, I am not leaking anything or giving commentary on my own copy until August 31. But I did think it was interesting to point out what Bethesda is doing here, which is not the most normal for a huge AAA game like this. Do with that what you will.

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