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‘Fallout 3’ PC Update Removes Defunct DRM

Credit: Unsplash

The ghost of Games for Windows Live haunts us no longer.

Anyone who has been playing games for long enough undoubtedly remembers the release of Fallout 3 back in 2008. If The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion was Bethesda’s warning shot, Fallout 3 was the bullseye; the game became one of the definitive hits of that entire console generation, cementing Bethesda as a top-shelf developer and publisher. In addition to its console versions, Fallout 3 also came to PC via Steam. However, due to licensing agreements that have been long since lost to time, it was saddled with Microsoft’s gaming framework at the time, Games for Windows Live.

GFWL went defunct years ago, but several games have long since remained haunted by its specter. People who tried to run Fallout 3 found much more difficulty in doing so do to the DRM pinging servers that no longer existed, which necessitated the use of workaround mods. Thankfully, it seems someone at Bethesda finally decided to empty out the old trash, as the Steam version of Fallout 3 has received a super-late-stage update that has finally cut GFWL out.

The game can now be launched directly from Steam, no additional DRM shenanigans required. That said, since Fallout 3 was released over a decade ago, the PC port is a bit… quirky, and this update has only made it quirkier. Users of the modding utility Fallout Script Extender have reported that it has stopped working, while others have had difficulty launching the game at all. The devs recommend uninstalling and reinstalling the game to start, though you might need to remove any mods or utilities you have loaded until the modding community fixes everything again.

On the bright side, now that GFWL has been scrapped for good, it’ll probably be a little easier for the modding community to re-patch everything. And if you somehow haven’t played Fallout 3, it’s on sale on Steam for just $2.99 until October 26.