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Fallout 76 avoids Steam release

UPDATE: Pete Hines confirms Bethesda still considering Steam for future releases

Original Story (06/08/2018): The next major title in the Fallout series, Fallout 76, will launch on Xbox One, PS4, and PC. But its PC version, unlike past Fallout games, will not be available on Steam.

As reported by PC Gamer, the Fallout 76 B.E.T.A. (Break it Early Test Application)'s FAQ included a note that "the game will be available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and on PC (via Bethesda.net only)."

Upon reaching out to a Bethesda representative, PC Gamer confirmed that this meant neither Fallout 76's beta nor its full release would be available via Steam.

Bethesda, like other major publishers such as Ubisoft, Activision Blizzard, and EA, has its own launched, but that launcher has in the past gotten far less attention than its competition for a variety of reasons, including its comparative youth (it launcher in 2016) and a lack of launcher-exclusive major releases.

The Fallout 76 FAQ also notes that, unusually, all beta progress will be carried over to the full game when it reaches full launch.

Update (13/08/2018): Bethesda Softworks confirmed over the weekend that avoiding Steam with Fallout 76 does't mean the developer will forgo the platform entirely for all future releases.

Speaking with IGN at QuakeCon 2018, Bethesda Softworks vice president Pete Hines said that doesn't mean the publisher's future games will necessarily do the same.

"We did not announce 'all future Bethesda games will not be on Steam,'" said Hines. "That is not what we said. We said 'this game will be available exclusively on Bethesda.net.'"

Hines was unable to confirm either way if Doom Eternal would be forgoing the platform.

"We haven't decided on anything else, this is specific to Fallout 76 given the kind of game it is -- it's an online, ongoing game," he said.

"[Doom Eternal] may or may not, but it hasn't been decided on anything else yet."

It's currently undecided whether or not Fallout 76 will come to Steam at a later date. As Hines rxplained, the move to avoid Steam came from a need to have a certain level of control over the online experience.

"We feel like the best way for us to provide the best experience and service to our customers is to be dealing with them directly, and not through someone else," he said.

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Latest comments (1)

Dariusz G. Jagielski Game Developer 2 months ago
As if I didn't need another reason to not buy it. This move is bonkers from business, technical and user-service perspective.

Business, because I bet there are other people who won't get it just because it isn't on the most popular platform on the planet. I simply can't be the only one. Not to mention they'll have to sustain their own network architecture to deliver and connect players. Yes, they can afford it, but why if there are solutions that can do it for them (SteamWorks)? Which brings us to...

Technical, because they have to sustain their own service. While there will be less people than usual, both because moving away for now from a traditional Fallout game and because of the doing away with Steam, this is still a Bethesda game. It WILL have problems on launch and people WON'T be able to download the game because servers won't be able to keep up. EA routinely have issues on its launches, most famous being SimCity 2013, and ZeniMax, while still a big company, doesn't have EA's resources.

User-service, because people will have to install another app, make a new account just to play Fallout 76 (the range of supported games may expand in future, but for now it'd be just Fallout 76, unless Bethesda delists all other games from Steam and GoG) and many will bounce of it just because of that. Not to mention launch issues the game will surely go through, as described above.
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