The Short Answer
No, Skyrim Anniversary Edition is not free if you already own the original Skyrim. However, you can upgrade to Skyrim Anniversary Edition for only $19.99 if you own Skyrim Special Edition.
What is Skyrim Anniversary Edition?
Skyrim Anniversary Edition bundles together the full base game with all its DLCs and over 500 pieces of additional Creation Club content. Here‘s a quick rundown of everything included:
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
- Dawnguard DLC
- Hearthfire DLC
- Dragonborn DLC
- Over 500 Creation Club items like quests, dungeons, armors, spells, etc
- Survival Mode
- Saints & Seducers questline
- Rare Curios items
It‘s the ultimate version that contains every piece of Skyrim content ever made. As a Skyrim fan, this is the dream bundle!
Anniversary Edition Pricing Breakdown
Here is how Bethesda has priced the Anniversary Edition for new buyers versus existing owners:
- Skyrim Anniversary Edition (full bundle): $49.99
- Upgrade from Skyrim Special Edition: $19.99
So unfortunately there is no way to get the full Anniversary Edition for free if you already own basic Skyrim or even the Special Edition. You have to pay $19.99 to upgrade.
Is the Upgrade Worth It?
Paying $19.99 to upgrade from Skyrim Special Edition is arguably very worth it. Here‘s a cost breakdown of what you get:
- Over 500 Creation Club items valued at $100+ normally
- Fishing and Survival Mode features
- Saints & Seducers questline
- Rare Curios items
- Next-gen console optimizations
When you consider that the Creation Club content alone is worth over $100 if purchased separately, $19.99 is a steal of a deal. You essentially get hundreds of dollars of extra content for the cost of a single DLC.
For Skyrim fans, this is a no brainer upgrade to buy. You get exponentially more content than you pay for.
What You Get for Free
While the full upgrade isn‘t free, Bethesda did make select Anniversary Edition content free for all Special Edition owners:
- Survival Mode
- Rare Curios
- Saints and Seducers
So you can get a taste of the new Anniversary Edition features risk free. But the vast majority of Creation Club content still requires purchasing the discounted upgrade.
Will Skyrim Anniversary Edition Be Free with Xbox Game Pass?
Unfortunately, Skyrim Anniversary Edition will not be free with an Xbox Game Pass subscription.
The Special Edition will remain on Game Pass, but the Anniversary Edition is paid DLC not included in the subscription. Everyone has to purchase the upgrade separately.
Game Pass Subscribers Still Save Money
While not free, Game Pass subscribers do save a little extra money when upgrading to Anniversary Edition:
|Game Pass Owner Upgrade Price:
|Non-Owner Upgrade Price:
So Xbox Game Pass members get 20% off the standard upgrade price, saving $4. This provides a small extra incentive for subscribers to upgrade.
Should You Buy the Skyrim Anniversary Edition Upgrade?
If you already enjoy playing Skyrim Special Edition, purchasing the Anniversary Edition upgrade is highly recommended. Here are 5 big reasons why:
1. Hundreds of Dollars of New Content
The upgrade gives you over 500 new Creation Club creations worth over $100 normally. That‘s a ton of quests, dungeons, items, and gameplay for very little money.
2. Revitalizes Skyrim
All the new content breathes fresh life into Skyrim after you‘ve already played it extensively, making it worth revisiting again.
3. Enhanced Visuals and Gameplay
On new consoles like PS5 and Xbox Series X, Anniversary Edition has improved graphics, performance, loading times, and controls. It plays better than ever.
4. It‘s the Definitive Experience
With every piece of content included, Anniversary Edition is simply the best and most complete version of Skyrim that exists.
5. Incredible Value
For just $19.99, the amount of new and high-quality content added is immense. It‘s a steal compared to normal DLC pricing.
Should You Buy Skyrim Anniversary Edition Full Price?
If you‘ve never played Skyrim before, is the Anniversary Edition worth buying at full $49.99 price? Let‘s weigh the pros and cons:
Pros of Buying Full Price
- Get the complete Skyrim experience in one package
- Hundreds of hours of content and gameplay
- Over $100 worth of Creation Club creations included
- Enhanced visuals and next-gen optimizations
Cons of Buying Full Price
- Original game can be found cheaper individually
- Full price is expensive for existing Skyrim players
- DLC expansions also available separately
Overall, if you‘re a new player interested in Skyrim for the first time, starting with Anniversary Edition is recommended. It provides the best and most complete version of the game right away.
But for existing Skyrim fans, buying the full Anniversary Edition at $49.99 has less value compared to the upgrade.
Should You Re-Purchase Skyrim if You Own the Base Game?
If you only own original Skyrim, is it worth re-buying the Anniversary Edition? Here are some factors to consider:
- You‘ll pay full $49.99 price instead of upgrade discount
- DLC expansions can be purchased separately
- You already own base game content
- But you‘ll miss out on huge Creation Club content
While the additional content is enticing, having to re-pay full price for content you already own is tough to swallow. Since you can buy the DLCs individually, the upgrade discount has much more appeal over full repurchase.
Ultimately, if you still actively play and enjoy vanilla Skyrim, the Anniversary Edition upgrade is a worthy investment. But paying full price again if you already own the game is harder to justify.
Can You Transfer Saves from Skyrim to Anniversary Edition?
The good news is you can transfer saves from Skyrim Special Edition to Anniversary Edition on all platforms:
- PC: Saves transfer automatically
- Xbox: Transfer saves via cloud storage or USB drive
- PlayStation: Transfer saves with PlayStation Plus cloud storage
This allows you to carry over your progress and characters from the original game into the Anniversary Edition. Just remember to back up your saves first!
Does Skyrim Anniversary Edition Support VR?
On PC, Skyrim Anniversary Edition will be fully compatible with VR headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive at launch.
VR players will be able to experience all the new content additions and upgrades in virtual reality on PC.
However, it‘s unclear if the VR capabilities will also come to PlayStation VR. Unfortunately Bethesda has not provided any details yet about PSVR support.
So while PC VR players are covered, the status of virtual reality support on PlayStation remains unknown. Hopefully PSVR will get Anniversary Edition enhancements too!
Is Skyrim Anniversary Edition Worth It?
For existing Skyrim fans, especially those who actively play and enjoy Skyrim Special Edition, the Anniversary Edition upgrade is absolutely worth the $19.99 price.
The amount of new content added for such a low cost is incredible, and it revitalizes the Skyrim experience with hundreds of extra hours of adventures.
However, repurchasing the full Anniversary Edition at $49.99 has less appeal for previous Skyrim owners. The discounted upgrade is a much better value.
But for new players who want to experience Skyrim for the first time, starting with Anniversary Edition is the best way to immediately get the complete package.
So in summary – the Anniversary Edition upgrade is an absolute steal and shouldn‘t be missed, but new players get the most value buying the full bundle.