While we’ve had confirmation that Fallout 76 will be available exclusively through the Bethesda.net Launcher, skipping Steam entirely, this may not be the case for all of Bethesda’s future titles.
Speaking at QuakeCon, Pete Hines, Bethesda’s senior VP of marketing & communication, explained that it is necessary to launch Fallout 76 through its own launcher in order to best provide the service for a live, ongoing game.
“We did not announce all future Bethesda games will not be on Steam,” said Hines to IGN. “That is not what we said. We said this game will be available exclusively on Bethesda.net.
“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. 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.”
Considering the number of ‘live’ games that currently operate through Steam just fine, this seems a flaky excuse at best. In particular when compared to the console versions of Fallout 76. These have to be available through Sony and Microsoft’s services and have notoriously tricky patch certification processes compared to Steam. If it works fine on console, it stands to reason it should work on PC too.
“There are some different things that have happened or have come up where having everyone work directly with you does make things a little easier in terms of talking to your player base, having them talk to you,” Hines continued to explain. “I am 100% sure I know whose fault it is and whose problem it is when you’re having an issue with the game: it’s ours.”
So to clarify, this is neither confirmation that Bethesda’s future games will launch on Steam, nor that they won’t. Putting on our tin foil hats at the moment, the entire future of Bethesda’s presence on Steam probably hinges on whether it can make Fallout 76 a success through its Bethesda.net Launcher. Should the game significantly underperform Bethesda’s expectations, in part due to being unavailable on Steam, then you can bet your bottom bottlecap they’ll be thinking about launching more titles through Steam.
To me, this reads like quite the ‘come and get us’ statement from Bethesda. Those folks who are vehemently opposed to buying Bethesda games outside of Steam now have the ammo to know their voices will be heard. Boycotting Bethesda’s platform would almost surely have an effect on the future platforms of its games. Make of that what you will.
For now, though, Fallout 76 is coming to Bethesda.net exclusively, and Hines was pretty coy as to where future titles like The Elder Scrolls VI, Rage 2 and Doom Eternal would be launching.
Do you believe Bethesda attains more creative control over its games by releasing via their own launcher? Are you discouraged from buying Fallout 76 purely to send a message to Bethesda? Let us know below!