Fallout 3 finally freed from Games For Windows Live scourge

Fallout 3
(Image credit: Bethesda Game Studios)

Launched in 2007, Microsoft's Games For Windows Live was a maligned game launcher designed to unite PC and Xbox Live users. That meant Xbox achievements on PC, Xbox social features on PC, but more pertinently, dealing with a terrible and poorly maintained user interface. Amusingly, Microsoft even toyed with the idea of imposing a subscription cost for PC users, ala Xbox Live Gold on consoles. That was quickly abandoned.

PC users never warmed to the service, and it was discontinued in 2014. Since then, droves of publishers and developers have moved to detach GFWL dependencies from their games. Notably, even Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Edition got the GFWL torn out of it, despite being among the last high-profile games to launch on the service.

For some reason, Bethesda never got around to doing that with Fallout 3, which has made running the game through Steam a right pain in the arse. Basically, you'd need to jump through hoops in order to get GFWL running on Windows 10, or else you'd need to use a mod to remove its dependencies. That's quite a bit of legwork for one of the most popular RPGs of all time.

That's all in the past, now: A new update for Fallout 3 and its GOTY variant completely excises GFWL's perfidious remains, leaving a game that you should now be able to simply boot up, hassle free.

"Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition has been updated and no longer installs Games for Windows Live dependencies," so reads the patch notes for Fallout 3: Game of the Year. "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."

Good news, of course, but GFWL still manages to taunt us from the grave. Last year Rockstar removed GTA 4 from Steam due to its dependency on the service: it was no longer able to generate keys for redemption on GFWL, with the thing being dead and all.

Given Microsoft now owns Bethesda, there's every possibility that relationship may have prompted the sudden—and frankly, too late—excision. Whatever the case, Fallout 3 is now a whole lot easier to enjoy.

Shaun Prescott

Shaun Prescott is the Australian editor of PC Gamer. With over ten years experience covering the games industry, his work has appeared on GamesRadar+, TechRadar, The Guardian, PLAY Magazine, the Sydney Morning Herald, and more. Specific interests include indie games, obscure Metroidvanias, speedrunning, experimental games and FPSs. He thinks Lulu by Metallica and Lou Reed is an all-time classic that will receive its due critical reappraisal one day.