Why is this important: Just two weeks away from Fallout 3’s 13th anniversary, Bethesda appears to have pushed a minor update, removing its reliance on Microsoft’s old Games For Windows Live service. This update may complicate your Fallout 3 installation, depending on how your mods and DLC packs are configured.
Bethesda released the hotfix for Fallout 3 this week on Steam. Its patch notes are brief, considering the update’s impact on the game. When it was released in 2008, Fallout 3 was one of several games that used Games For Windows Live (GFWL), Microsoft’s first attempt to integrate PC games with Xbox. Microsoft no longer supports GFWL, which has left many older games stuck with issues when trying to connect to a dead service on startup.
Fallout 3, in particular, could still be played without logging into GFWL – it only used the service when players purchased and installed the DLC (which was the initial reason I created my current Microsoft account ago more than ten years). Players got around this by using mods or purchasing the Game of the Year Edition, which includes all DLC, removing any reason to log into GFWL other than Achievements.
Other versions of Fallout 3 offered on GOG.com and the Microsoft Store have already patched GFWL. Still, attempts by the Steam version to log into GFWL after Microsoft ditched it could cause problems.
However, users have discovered that removing GFWL from Fallout 3 can have its own issues. Users who purchased the DLC from GFWL may lose access to it unless they get the DLC through Steam or own the GOTY Edition. I checked my copy of the original Fallout 3 version and the DLC data files were gone (luckily I also have the GOTY edition and the GOG version). The update can also disrupt mods. The patch notes suggest uninstalling and reinstalling the game before restarting it.
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