A post on Neogaf reveals that Bethesda is looking to introduce its own digital game service to compete with the likes of Steam, though no official announcement has been made.
While Steam is undoubtedly the top dog when it comes to digital distribution platforms, it seems other companies don’t always want to cut Valve’s platform a piece of the fiscal pie. Every title sold on Steam gives Valve a portion of the proceeds, so a company that can get users to use its own digital service instead of Steam can save themselves the extra expenditure.
It looks like Bethesda is the next company aiming to cut out the middle-man, as a recent Neogaf post seems to indicate the company already has its own launcher service going through a closed alpha release process right now.
Entitled the Besthesda.net launcher (quite similarly titled to the popular Battle.net platform), the service will play host to Bethesda’s entire library of games, and a ‘redeem code’ button indicates the studio will soon begin encouraging digital downloads through its own service rather than Steam. This allows the company to maximize profits, and it looks like the platform will also have some semblance of modification support, too.
Here’s a look at the alpha version of the Bethesda.net launcher in action:
Since the application appears to have a mods section, the company may be planning on including a built-in mod manager for their titles. Series like The Elder Scrolls and Fallout play hosts to thousands and thousands of individual modification projects, and including a way to easily manage and access these modifications would give the in-house launcher a leg to stand on when it competes with services like Steam, which has a very active Steam Workshop page that lets users easily subscribe to modifications – or, in one failed experiment, even purchase them. It’s quite possible that Besthesda may be looking to revive the idea of paid mods, especially when considering how popular modifications are to the company’s best selling intellectual properties.
Of course, it’s inconvenient for gamers to have a profile on all of these individual services when one would suffice. Now that Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Blizzard, and more have their own individual services for digital downloads, some gamers have expressed distaste that Bethesda is edging in on the crowded market, though it looks like a financially sound move for the company. Ubisoft offers its own range of exclusive content bonuses for those who use Uplay, and it’s likely Bethesda would adopt a similar practice to get consumers to use the Bethesda.net launcher too.
Since the Bethesda.net Launcher is still in alpha, it looks like the company is testing the waters behind closed doors while it figures out how best to approach the already-crowded digital platform launcher marketplace. Fans won’t be too excited to hear they may have to register new accounts to access what they already could elsewhere, but it seems like most big-name developers are heading in this direction. Interestingly, this has spurred in interest in open-source launchers that let users combine their content from all the digital platforms, resulting in projects like Horizon Launcher ‘picking up Steam’, so to speak.
What do you think about the Besthesda.net Launcher, Ranters?