Bottom line: Bethesda says Fallout 76 skipping Steam will only be a good thing for players, though many people disagree. Not at all surprisingly, the company failed to mention anything about the decision's financial benefits.
Last week brought the somewhat surprising news that the upcoming Fallout 76 would be the first 3D entry in the series not available on Steam. Now, Bethesda has revealed why: it wants a “direct relationship” with the game’s players.
The Fallout 76 beta FAQ states that “the game will be available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and on PC (via Bethesda.net only),” which the company later confirmed will apply to both the B.E.T.A and the launch.
Bethesda never said why it decided people would need its client, but with Steam taking a 30 percent cut from publishers every time a game is sold, it appears that the issue revolves around money; specifically, Bethesda wanting more of it. But the firm claims this isn’t the case.
Speaking in a Q&A session at QuakeCon, Bethesda senior vice president of global marketing and communications, Pete Hines, offered several reasons behind the company’s decision, including its view that the multiplayer, online Fallout 76 is more akin to a game-as-a-service.
“We’ve done online games before, we’ve done some games-as-service. And with [Fallout] 76, it was just really important to us to have that direct relationship with the customer, that didn’t involve somebody else.”
Additionally, Hines said having more control over Fallout 76 means it won’t face issues arising from any Steam updates. “If there’s a problem, if there’s an issue, it’s on us. There’s no guessing,” he said. “There’s no, ‘oh, well somebody else updated something and now our thing doesn’t work and we have to wait to fix it.’”
Finally, Hines added that using Bethesda.net will improve the customer service experience for players who come across problems—which is a given in newly launched online games. They can deal with the company directly, instead of Steam acting as a middleman.
Unsurprisingly, there was no mention of the increased revenue Bethesda would receive as a result of its decision.
If you don’t mind playing Fallout 76 on Bethesda.net, make sure to check it out when the game launches on November 14.
In other Bethesda news, Pete Hines yesterday explained why the company stopped someone reselling a sealed copy of The Evil Within 2.