Every Version of Skyrim You Can Play in 2024 - IGN (2024)

Quickly becoming Bethesda Game Studio's most successful release and one of the best-selling games of all time, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has remained a fixture of the company's lineup even years after it hit shelves, with the studio repackaging and reselling it multiple times. From handheld ports and next-gen upgrades to full-on VR recreations, Skyrim is a game that you can play pretty much anywhere at this point.

But, with so many versions of Skyrim to choose from, which should you play in 2024? With multiple editions spread across PlayStation, Xbox, PC and even Switch, it can be tricky to know which release of the game is best suited for the experience you're searching for. Luckily, we've got you covered. Below, we've put together a full guide on all the versions of Skyrim currently available and what's included in each package. You should have plenty of time to play it before The Elder Scrolls 6 arrives.

How Many Versions of Skyrim Are There?

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In total, there have been seven unique releases of Skyrim released across nine different platforms. One of these is a version completely playable through Amazon Alexa known as Skyrim: Very Special Edition, which functioned entirely through voice commands. It was largely released as a simple, fun nod to the countless memes about how frequently Skyrim was remastered and, although we can appreciate Alexa dryly describing your epic showdown with a wandering Mudcrab, we won't include it in the list.

We'll also be moving past 2013's Skyrim: Legendary Edition, which was a bundle including the base release of the game and its three expansions. With the release of Special Edition in 2016, Legendary Edition was delisted from Steam. Although you can technically still buy second-hand physical copies of this version on Xbox 360 and PS3, it's not a product Bethesda still sells and so it's one we'll skip over.

That leaves us with five different versions of Skyrim to run through. So, without further ado, let's get started.

Every Skyrim Edtion in Order

1. Skyrim - PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 (2011)

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The first version of Skyrim that launched all the way back in 2011, the standard edition is about as vanilla as Skyrim gets. Launching on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC, it laid the foundation for the game's various updated ports in the years following its launch. However, in 2024, it's probably not worth seeking out.

Unless you still have an Xbox 360 or PS3 to hand, this will mostly be an option for PC players, and even then, most digital PC storefronts don't even have it appear in their search bars following the release of Skyrim: Special Edition. As for why, It comes bundled with none of the expansions or the visual and gameplay updates that were included in the more modern versions of the game. Considering Special Edition Skrim is quite frequently discounted on storefronts like Steam and GOG, the Standard Edition has been made slightly redundant in the years since.

That being said, if you're looking to tap into Skyrim's older modding scene, it may still be worth checking out. On both Steam Workshop and Nexus, you'll find mods for the original version of the game, and while they may not be as advanced as the mods that can be built on Special Edition, there's a ton of them to try out.

2. Skyrim: Special Edition - PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X (2016)

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Launching five years after the standard edition, Skyrim: Special Edition is the most common version of the game currently available. Bundled in this version, you'll get all three of the game's major expansions, Dawnguard, Hearthfire and Dragonborn, as well as a suite of visual upgrades, including remastered textures and vastly upgraded lighting.

One of the biggest additions is access to the Creations tab, which allows you to download free mods made by the community as well as paid Creation Club content packs licensed by Bethesda. This feature is included on console too, meaning you can finally get a taste of the game's modding scene without needing to play the game on PC. Skyrim: Special Edition is often discounted on console and PC, but it can also be downloaded through Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation Plus Extra, making it one of the easiest versions to get your hands on.

This really is the core version you'll be looking at if you just want a no frills, standard Skyrim experience with all the quality of life updates that come with more modern hardware. It's easy to get either through subscription services or sales, and has all of the expansion content included, as well as the option to extend your playtime or mix things up with in-built access to mods.

3. Skyrim: Special Edition (Nintendo Switch) - Switch (2017)

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Although technically another port of Skyrim: Special Edition, the Nintendo Switch version deserves its own spot on the list for being a full handheld port that you can play on the go.

The Switch release also has a few unique features outside of its portability. Players can switch on motion controls, using the JoyCon to attack with a sword or pull back the string of a bow, while the game also includes unique Zelda-themed items, including Link's tunic, a Hylian Shield and the Master Sword. If you're looking to clear a few dungeons on your commute to work, this is the version for you.

4. Skyrim VR - PC, PlayStation 4 (2017)

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Just a year after the release of Special Edition, Bethesda decided to release an alternate version of Skyrim that would ramp up its immersion to new heights. This new port was Skyrim VR, which does exactly what it says on the tin. Using a PSVR or Windows-based headset, players can hop into Skyrim's world recreated in virtual reality, allowing them to explore its icy plains from a new perspective.

Skyrim VR includes the full base game and its expansions while implementing motion controls, with players using VR controllers to swing swords, draw bows and pick up items. In essence, it's another version of Special Edition but fully experienced through a VR headset, so if you want a new way to explore Skyrim and have the tech necessary to play it, it could be one to try out.

5. Skyrim: Anniversary Edition - PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Switch (2021)

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The latest version of Skyrim, Skyrim: Anniversary Edition launched in 2021 to celebrate the game's ten-year anniversary. In essence, it's more of an expansion to Special Edition than a full-fledged remaster, bundling together a list of over 70 Creation Club mods for a discounted price. Included are new quests, weapons, armor sets, houses, enemies, dungeons, spells and features, alongside a lot more.

You can buy Skyrim: Anniversary Edition as a full game, but if you already own Skyrim: Special Edition, you can upgrade to the Anniversary edition for a lower cost instead. Anniversary Edition definitely isn't an essential add-on to the game, but if you've already wandered the world of Skyrim for years at this point and want to freshen things up for your next playthrough, it's worth a look.

Callum Williams is a freelance media writer with years of experience as a game critic, news reporter, guides writer and features writer.

Every Version of Skyrim You Can Play in 2024 - IGN (2024)
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