2023 has been a phenomenal year for video games. We’ve had incredible AAA titles like Final Fantasy XVI and Street Fighter 6. And from the indie space, we’ve had marvels like Dave the Diver and Sea of Stars. And then we have Starfield. Bethesda’s space epic gets mountains of praise, but some have such a fiery hatred for it, you’d think they were John Wick and the game just killed their dog. Why is there so much Starfield hate? Let’s talk about it.
Let me start with one I think we can all agree on. Starfield isn’t a perfect game. It has problems that have existed in Bethesda games forever, and many players report technical issues. That said, people can take criticisms very personally, especially about a game they’ve been looking forward to.
Sometimes, there’s a fine line between criticism and hate. I love Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, but am I “hating” on it for saying the performance is miserable? It’s too common to see genuine criticism disregarded as “hate” followed by a reason that doesn’t make much sense.
Another issue that makes the hatred seem more widespread is social media. Negative posts always get more views and engagement. Even if you don’t care about that stuff, hate rises to the top.
The Overreliance on Reviews
I’ll dive deeper into this later, but when it comes to Starfield, people forget what reviews actually are. Reviewers aren’t arbiters of truth in the video game space. They are simply writers who use their experiences to rate a game. Nothing more, nothing less.
Unfortunately, some folks use this to senselessly pit games against one another. When console exclusivity rears its head, and there’s a fear of missing out, things get messy. This nonsense is perpetuated by an industry that puts far too much weight on things like Metacritic scores, but the point still stands.
Some players see an outlet give Starfield 7/10 and Balder’s Gate 3 10/10 and mentally leap to the conclusion that they must “have it out” for Starfield. In reality, it’s two different reviewers who write for the same outlet, giving their opinion on a game they played.
Baldur’s Gate 3 Exists
As both titles are RPGs, it’s unsurprising that Starfield gets compared to Baldur’s Gate 3. Still, some struggle with the idea that one person may love the idea of high fantasy and might think space is dull, and vice versa. Also, at the time of writing, Baldur’s Gate 3 isn’t on Xbox consoles, which ties in nicely to my next point.
We could write a book on this one, but in short, many people are angry that Starfield isn’t on PlayStation. It’s as simple as that. As we’re PC Invasion, we like to think we’re above that (it’s a joke, relax), but console fanboyism is a real thing, and some take it way too far.
This odd allegiance gamers have to their respective plastic boxes has been going on for as long as gaming has existed. We have Xbox vs. PlayStation right now. We had Sega vs. Nintendo in the ’90s. “Sega does what NintenDon’t” was a real thing.
Xbox isn’t the bogeyman of the gaming world for making Starfield exclusive. Gamers have short memories. Even last-gen, you couldn’t play Street Fighter V if you only had an Xbox. In Starfield‘s case, it’s hard not to think that some hate comes from PlayStation die-hards who are upset they can’t play a pretty good game. If you feel attacked, don’t worry. I’m sure we can have this discussion again when Spider-Man 2 comes out.
So why is Starfield getting so much hate? It’s a combination of everything above, from dumb console wars to valid criticism being labeled as hate. Ultimately, everyone has their own opinion. If you think Starfield looks cool, maybe you should check it out. If you’re on PC, make sure you can run it first!
Starfield may not interest you, and that’s okay, too. As I said at the start, 2023 is one of the most jam-packed years we’ve ever seen for great games. Spend your energy celebrating those instead of bashing something you would never play anyway.