Fallout 3 GFWL DRM Removed

Just as a preamble: I haven't installed Fallout 3 to check this for myself, but the data shows that this has happened and there are first-hand reports indicating that yes, Bethesda has updated Fallout 3 and they have removed the Games For Windows Live DRM check-in.

The news comes courtesy of a Reddit post referencing a NeoGaf post where information from the Steam database app were uncovered, showing that Bethesda's update to Fallout 3 – which happened within the last 24 hours, as of the publishing of this article – included some removals to the software application. What was removed? CD-key checks.

As you can spot below in the changelog from the Steam database app – a nifty source for showing all the backend changes made to games on Steam – Fallout 3 had the CD-key check removed from its startup library:

Basically, the call function for the CD-key check, the registration location and the check to appear at the launch of the game have been completely removed.

Technically, this news isn't that big given that Fallout 3 was one of the lesser aggressors of DRM. Games For Windows Live was used passively and wasn't entirely required for game functionality like, say, Grand Theft Auto IV, Lost Planet 2, Batman or Street Fighter IV.

One of the reasons some people were also somewhat lackadaisical about the news is because many of the mods for Fallout 3 disabled the GFWL check-in, so it wasn't quite as egregious as some other software titles out there that used Microsoft's DRM service.

Nevertheless, the fact that Bethesda has taken an ever-so-slight extra step to ensure that the game will function without Games For Windows Live is a reassuring and complimentary measure to show that they do care about the gaming community. They've also stated that the older Fallout titles will return to distribution portals after they were removed due to a change of hand in licensing; so they're definitely making all the right moves right now.

Still, we're now into 2014 and the countdown timer persists for many other games still utilizing Microsoft's DRM service. Capcom has been coy about their plans for removing the GFWL check-in, and many feel they'll lose access to these games by the time July 1st rolls around, which is the closing date for Microsoft's service.

Right now the biggest game that everyone wants off of GFWL is Dark Souls. Right now we still have no word on what Namco Bandai plans to do or what they'll do regarding one of the top selling games during the Steam winter sale. In addition to this, a lot of people are also concerned with GTA IV, but most of us have resolved to the belief that Rockstar probably doesn't care enough about the PC gaming community to go back and make the change.

Nevertheless, it's good to see publishers get pro-active about addressing the impending inactivity of DRM servers. Depending on how well publishers handle this transition will be telling as to whether or not they're mature enough and trustworthy enough for an all-digital future.

Will Usher

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend.