Fallout 76 aside, Bethesda isn’t completely ditching Steam
While Bethesda has decided that Fallout 76 won’t be gracing Steam with its presence – instead being delivered directly to gamers via Bethesda.net – the firm has clarified that this doesn’t mean it’s abandoning Valve’s online games store completely.
Pete Hines, senior vice president of global marketing at Bethesda, clarified to IGN: “We did not announce ‘all future Bethesda games will not be on Steam.’ That is not what we said. We said ‘this game will be available exclusively on Bethesda.net.’”
He wouldn’t be drawn on discussing whether other games – such as Doom Eternal – would be on Steam, stating that “we haven’t decided on anything else” when it came to future releases. But clearly, Bethesda doesn’t intend to ditch Steam completely; at least not at this point.
Indeed, Hines clarified that the reason Fallout 76 wasn’t launching on Steam (at least initially) is due to the predominantly online focus of the game, and the need to have greater control in order to deliver a better experience for players, and to facilitate more direct communication between publisher and player base (rather than having to go through a third-party channel like Steam). And that improved communication is more crucial with an online game, of course – particularly when things go awry.
Hine observed: “We have found very good successes in having those direct relationships with customers, and not been able to see those same benefits when we work through somebody else. And so, specific for Fallout 76, we are going to try this because we think it will give us the best chance to do right by our customers.”
So which future Bethesda games take this approach may well depend on how well it works out for Fallout 76, and how smoothly everything goes in terms of maintaining that closer level of interaction with the player base.
When we first reported on Fallout 76 giving Steam a swerve, we noted that this doesn’t necessarily mean it will never be on Valve’s platform, and indeed Hines indicated this isn’t beyond the realms of possibility.
Hines told IGN: “Is it possible? I guess, but I honestly couldn’t give you any guarantee one way or the other on whether it will or won’t.”
So really, it sounds like Fallout 76 is the big test of whether a Bethesda.net approach will work for distribution and keeping everything running smoothly post-launch, with the fate of future releases dependent on how this episode pans out.
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