"War changes: Fallout 76 is series’ first in a decade to skip Steam"


#1

Original article.

Bethesda has become the latest video game publisher to begin pulling a major game series from rivals’ download services. The publisher’s latest announcement about the online RPG Fallout 76 included hints to a first for a 3D Fallout game: it won’t be sold via Steam.

Our suspicions were raised by the game’s beta FAQ, which went live on Monday and included many mentions of the Bethesda.net store and launcher for the game’s Windows version… but no mention of Steam. Once we clicked through all of the FAQ’s questions (all hidden with spoiler tags), we found a definitive answer near the bottom: “Both the beta and the game will be available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and on PC (via Bethesda.net only).” [ Update : Shortly after this article went live, Bethesda forwarded Ars Technica an even more direct statement confirming the news: “The PC version of Fallout 76 , for both the beta and the launch, will be available only via Bethesda.net, not on Steam.”]

The Bethesda.net launcher debuted on Windows PCs in 2016, and since its debut, it has featured two exclusive free-to-play games during their PC launch windows: Quake Champions and Fallout Shelter . Both of those games’ PC versions eventually found their way to Steam. Bethesda’s latest statement, on the other hand, does not include any indication that the retail-priced Fallout 76 will ever find its way to Valve Software’s popular storefront and game-launch service, which charges third-party publishers a 30-percent fee for any transactions.

I didn’t even realise Bethesda.net was a thing:

As of press time, Bethesda.net includes a broad range of games developed by Bethesda and its subsidiary studios, along with some (but not all) of those companies’ back-catalog titles. In particular, id Software’s history isn’t evenly represented at Bethesda.net, with only Doom II being available from that classic series. (Yes, that means 2016’s fabulous Doom reboot isn’t yet available via Bethesda.net.)

Also referenced in the article, Fornite have done the same with the Playstore:

This news follows last week’s confirmation that Fortnite will skip the Google Play app store when it eventually launches on Android phones. Bethesda has yet to signal any interest in selling Android software in similar fashion; Fallout Shelter is currently available via Google Play, while Elder Scrolls: Blades will arrive on Android and iOS “later this year.”

I’m not entirely surprised by either since the Playstore is a heaping dumpster fire and Steam is getting closer to it every day with the sheer saturation of new releases and the persistent unwillingness to curate the crap.

On the one hand, Steam having a complete monopoly isn’t good for any of us, but I dislike the idea of multiple accounts across multiple platforms equally as much.


#2

An interesting move. It’s easy to think that certain platforms are the norm or become so large that they’ll never change.

Back when Steam became huge, they offered 2 main solutions that would have normally cost a developer a lot to deal with inhouse: 1, a server cluster capable of not only providing downloads, but also providing patches and updates. 2, a sensible means of DRM to prevent the huge piracy issue that used to plague games.

However, with the scale of cloud computing that is available now like Amazon AWS, you can create scalable servers in an instant. DRM is also available turnkey too.

So why would developers want to put themselves up against all their competition in the same place. They wouldn’t - Equally though, all their customers are on Steam already, so its a risky move. Only Bethesda could attempt to push it alone.

From my experience of gaming retail, Bethesda were the ONLY company to try and do things different. They didn’t bomb their prices. They were aware of loopholes in regional pricing. They didn’t over-produce products. They were very astute to the market. I gave them a lot of respect for how they treated me - a very small fish in a big pond.

I could see others following.