Fallout 4 will require a Steam download, even if you buy it on disc

Fallout 4

For some gamers, the advent of the digital marketplace has been an immeasurable boon. For others, particularly those of us with slow connections and/or tight data caps, it's not. For that second group, there's some bad news regarding the coming launch of Fallout 4: Even if you install from a disc, at least part of the game will have to be downloaded from Steam.

The word came from Pete Hines, Bethesda's Vice President of PR and Marketing, who confirmed on Twitter last week that the physical release of the game will include both a disc and a Steam key, and that the disc will have "actual install data" on it. But in a follow-up, he added that while the game will be installed from the disc, "You will still have to download from Steam. The disc doesn't contain the entire game."

This is not unreasonable, or even unusual. Most major game releases these days require hefty launch-day patches anyway, and as Hines pointed out, the console versions of the game will be on Blu-ray discs, which can store 25GB per layer, while the PC version will be on DVDs that hold just 4.7GB. But when pressed about why PC games in general are so often restricted this way, he offered a simple, one-word answer: "Piracy."

That response went over about as well as you'd expect, but Hines was unapologetic. "We've been doing it this way more or less for 10+ years," he tweeted. "Seems to be doing ok. Lots of people bought Skyrim, Wolf, etc."

I know as well as anyone how intensely frustrating and infuriating a mandatory, multi-gigabyte download on a wonky connection can be, especially when the game you purchased is sitting beside you on a disc. I mean, it's right there, right? And there is literally nothing you can do about it but wait, and maybe fire a few crappy emails into the digital ether—or do without. Which leads to the obvious question: Will this push any of you away from Fallout 4 on launch day?

Fallout 4 comes out on November 10.

Thanks, VG247.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.