Bethesda removes Games for Windows Live dependency from Fallout 3 GOTY

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 16, 2021

Microsoft shut down Games for Windows Live on July 1, 2014. More than seven years later, Bethesda, now a Microsoft-owned company, removed the Games for Windows Live dependency from its Fallout 3 GOTY game.

Games for Windows Live was a Microsoft service that publishers and developers could integrate into their games to add support for a variety of features, including social features such as friends and messaging, achievements, but also digital rights management (DRM) and in-game content purchases.

Back then, Microsoft's service offered some features that other gaming platforms, including Steam, did not offer. Problem was: the service was not very popular because of its buggy nature.  Still, popular games such as Fallout 3, Dawn of War 2, Street Fighter IV , GTA IV, or Resident Evil 5 used Games for Windows Live.

When Microsoft discontinued its service, most publishers patched the service out of their games to ensure that gamers could continue playing the games. Bethesda on the other hand did not patch Fallout 3 GOTY, and gamers who owned the game had a miserable time trying to get it to play on Steam. A mod was created by community members which removed the dependency, but it was only available to those who searched for it.

fallout 3 games for windows live removed

The latest patch note for the Fallout 3 Game of the Year edition, confirms that Bethesda removed the dependency from the game.

Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition has been updated and no longer installs Games for Windows Live dependencies. If Fallout 3 was previously installed on Steam, we suggest uninstalling and reinstalling the title.

The title no longer requires Games for Windows Live and will now launch.

While that is going to be appreciated by most Steam customers who own the game, some may dislike the move, at least for the time being. Rock Paper Shotgun points out that the new version has broken the Fallout Script Extender (FOSE), which is used by "more-advanced mods". After the update is installed, the script extender won't work anymore and so don't mods that rely on it. FOSE is working on an update, but there is no ETA.

Another potential issue may affect gamers who bought DLC though Games for Windows Live. At least one gamer noted that DLC became unavailable after installing the update on Steam.

Fallout 3 GOTY does not run that well on modern Windows machines. You find a list of issues and potential fixes on the PC Gaming Wiki website. If you want the better Fallout 3, check out Fallout: New Vegas Ultimate Edition. It is available on GOG, and discounted on the site currently. The original game is also discounted on GOG, and since it is on GOG, it comes without Games for Windows Live component.

Now You: where do you buy games, if you do?

Bethesda removes Games for Windows Live dependency from Fallout 3 GOTY
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Bethesda removes Games for Windows Live dependency from Fallout 3 GOTY
Bethesda removed the Games for Windows Live component from its Fallout 3 Game of the Year game on Steam.
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  1. Lemegeton said on October 18, 2021 at 1:10 pm

    As mentioned in the article, the GOG version does not have this problem right from release on the service.
    DRM-Free, client-free, offline installer included.

  2. Dumbledalf said on October 17, 2021 at 1:02 pm

    Now if Bethesda does a Morrowind Remastered, I would be very happy.

  3. Dave said on October 17, 2021 at 1:04 am

    I’ve been on steam since before you could buy stuff through it. We used it for the original Team Fortress Classic.

    So, even though it has become extremely anti-privacy I still use it to purchase games. Which I then modify so they will run without steam.

    I usually keep steam blocked (it takes 9 fooking rules) in the firewall. You must use third party software to do so as Steam has paid M$ for the free pass through the built in firewall.

    As the built in windows firewall already has all the needed features, I prefer to use “Windows Firewall Control” to just take control of it away from M$. (WFC is branded by Malwarebytes now but it still works as a standalone product)

    I also buy games from GOG. No client needed, no DRM, win win.

    If I want a game that requires some other spyware (Epic), oops I mean ‘launcher’, I wait for a version that doesn’t require an internet connection.

  4. Lindsay said on October 17, 2021 at 12:19 am

    I’d always wondered why, despite owning FO3 and all of its DLC, FO3 GOTY still appears as a separate product in Steam (and Steam continually recommends it to me!) This explains it pretty well. What a debacle.

  5. Graham said on October 16, 2021 at 10:15 pm

    I’m surprised it took them this long.

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