It may be easy to chuckle at Bethesda porting Skyrim to Alexa, but the set-up for the tongue-in-cheek release at E3 2018 has numbers behind it. According to the game's director Todd Howard, "millions of people every month" are still playing Skyrim.
This comes from a talk between Howard and Geoff Keighley at Gamelab in Barcelona attended by GamesIndustry.biz, during which Keighley led into a conversation about persistent game worlds and the ability to continuously play older games.
"Even now, the amount of people who play Skyrim seven years later; millions of people every month are playing that game," Howard replied. "That's why we keep releasing it. If you want us to stop releasing it, stop buying it."
For a slightly more specific look at Skyrim's continued popularity one need only look to Steam. Earlier today, Valve released a breakdown of games with the most simultaneous players in 2018 so far. Skyrim was included on the list, having had over 50,000 simultaneous players in 2018. And that's just at one moment on one platform sometime during the last six months for a single-player game released in November of 2011.
That continued, long-term success is good news for Howard, who emphasized his desire to see his gaming worlds remain sustainable in the long term.
"Every year there's a new idea we can't do, and a new technology for something that excites us," he said. "I'd say I want it to be sustainable. Eventually there will come a day where I'm not making games at Bethesda. Hopefully that's a long time away. But I want to make sure that who we are, what the worlds are, what the company is, that's sustainable far beyond me."
GamesIndustry.biz is a media partner of the Gamelab conference. We have attended the show with the assistance of the organiser.