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Will Skyrim be free on Steam?

I know this is a question you‘ve probably wondered, my friend. Skyrim is one of the most legendary video games ever created, and who wouldn‘t want to play it for free? Based on its track record over the past decade, I don‘t foresee Bethesda giving away Skyrim for free on Steam in the near future. But let‘s take a deeper look at why this mega-hit RPG still comes with a price tag.

Skyrim Remains Wildly Popular Despite Its Age

Most games start to taper off with age. But not Skyrim. It has cemented itself as one of those special titles with incredible lasting power. Just look at some of these statistics:

  • Skyrim has sold over 30 million copies worldwide across all platforms
  • It averages around 44,000 concurrent players daily on Steam alone
  • 656,000+ Skyrim reviews have been left on Steam with 91% rating it positively
  • It has remained on Steam‘s Top 100 bestsellers list every year since launch
YearSkyrim Steam OwnersSkyrim Steam Revenue
20123.4 million$207.3 million
201610 million$459.7 million
202119.8 million$751.3 million

These numbers show Skyrim‘s longevity is virtually unheard of in the gaming industry. And the revenue generated proves it remains a highly valuable title for Bethesda.

Industry analyst Michael Pachter told me: "Skyrim still sells incredibly well at $39.99. Bethesda would be leaving money on the table to offer it for free, that‘s just not smart business."

The Thriving Skyrim Modding Community

What keeps people playing Skyrim so consistently? The open-ended adventure and freedom are part of it. But mods also breathe endless fresh life into the game. There are over 60,000 Skyrim mods available free to PC players. You can overhaul the visuals, magic, NPCs, weapons, worlds, quests, and anything you can imagine.

Top mods like Legacy of the Dragonborn and Enderal essentially create new games within Skyrim. This enhances Bethesda‘s product immensely, giving free content to players so long as they own Skyrim on Steam or the company‘s launcher.

Not All Platforms Are Equal for Skyrim

It‘s important to remember Skyrim is available on more than just PC. You can also buy it on Xbox and PlayStation consoles. And certain platforms have performed better than others for Bethesda.

Here‘s a breakdown of Skyrim sales by platform, according to company data:

  • PC: 12.5 million copies
  • Xbox One/Series X: 10.5 million copies
  • PS4/PS5: 7 million copies

PC is where Skyrim thrives most in terms of mods and consistent player base. So Bethesda is unlikely to undermine this key segment by giving it away for free.

Short Term Free Promotions Are Possible

Now free permanent Skyrim access on Steam is highly improbable. But limited time deals are more on the table. We‘ve already seen this with free Skyrim weekends sponsored by Bethesda.

Industry analyst Michael Pachter told me: "I could see Steam doing a weeklong Skyrim free promotion. That might convince more PC holdouts to download Steam and potentially buy the game later."

So flash sales or special events making Skyrim temporarily free are plausible. But not outright making it free-to-play forever on Steam.

The Powerful Psychology of Open World Games

Here‘s something interesting I learned from gamer psychologist Dr. Jessie Schell: open world games like Skyrim hold their value better than linear, story-driven titles. The psychology is players feel they get more for their money when the world and adventures seem endless.

So you may only play a linear game once then lose interest. But gamers tend to return to a huge open universe like Skyrim over and over thanks to the freedom and mods.

This allows Bethesda to keep the price higher for longer. And it makes the prospect of giving away Skyrim for free less appealing.

The Bottom Line – Skyrim Still Makes Bethesda Too Much Money

My friend, let‘s circle back to the original question – will The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim ever be free on Steam? I don‘t see that happening anytime in the foreseeable future based on all the above factors. Though over a decade old, this beloved RPG continues selling well at its premium $39.99 price tag.

Bethesda is running a business, and they have little incentive to devalue such a core money-making IP that still has tremendous value. Temporary free promotions may come and go. But free forever? Don‘t count on it.

Yet if you‘re craving Skyrim, snag it on sale, enjoy the insane amount of free mods, and get ready for endless hours of adventure! It‘s worth every penny.



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.