The excitement for Starfield is very, very real, with Bethesda’s space opera set to launch on September 1 for those Xbox and PC players who’ve secured early access. Otherwise, it’s September 6. However, if you’re on Steam, one player has shared an important PSA.
Shared to Reddit by user ComManDerBG on August 30, it’s based on how Steam activates pre-loaded titles once they’re unlocked and are available to play. The platform does not unlock games and make them instantly playable. Instead, it has to decrypt the compressed game files it has downloaded. This means that when Starfield goes live, players will have to wait for their Steam to decrypt the game. The speed at which this occurs is based on the drive it’s been installed on.
“This is an issue i see crop up in quite literally every game release i have been apart of that has a Steam pre-load… When the game officially unlocks at 8pm EST the 31st Steam will begin to unpack those files,” ComManDerBG writes.
“The speed of this process is completely dependent on the speed of the drive you have it installed on. I shifted a bunch of files off of my small SDD to my HDD just to squeeze Starfield there because i know with its size, the unpack process will be long.”
Steam will display different bars to let players know what is being downloaded. A blue bar relates to network use, but a green bar — the relevant one in this case — is related to drive use.
In short, players should just be patient and wait for Steam to decrypt their Starfield title. The extra decryption is a normal part of how Steam operates, reflected in the launch of many recent games and not just Starfield. Re-initiating a full download will be a much lengthier process.
After that, get ready for all the galaxy exploration you want (and probably some more after that).