Fallout's classic catalogue removed from GOG due to rights issue [Update: Steam affected too]

Phil Savage at

All in all, a post-apocalyptic nuclear wasteland wouldn't be a pleasant place, but it would bring a few benefits. One of them: a blissful lack of licensing laws and rights issues. That's in stark contrast to the here-and-now, where - in the distinctly unirradiated 21st century - DRM-free digital retailer GOG has been forced to remove the popular Fallout series from its shelves due to an ownership change that sees the classic RPGs now fully owned by Bethesda.

This is the (wait for it) fallout of the two-year legal battle between Bethesda and Interplay over the latter's Fallout MMO. The $2 million settlement, reached in January 2012, granted Bethesda all rights to a Fallout MMO, and secured the transfer of all Fallout IP after December 2013.

The transfer means GOG can no longer sell Fallout, Fallout 2 or Fallout: Tactics. Despite this, those who previously bought the games through the service will continue to be able to access their already purchased copy through the site. That includes those who secured a free copy, during GOG's recent giveaway.

While it's possible that Bethesda will negotiate a new deal with GOG to resume the sale of the titles, it does seem strange that nothing was in place for a smooth and uninterrupted transition. All three games are still available on Steam, suggesting that Valve have reached their own agreement with the new owners.Update: The Valve beast has now also removed copies from sale, although - as with GOG - previous owners retain library access. Hopefully both options will be reinstated soon.