Well, it’s definitely the end of an era, as Bethesda Softworks announced the final steps in shutting down their Bethesda.net Launcher platform. Starting on April 27, users who bought games via Bethesda.net Launcher will be able to transfer their PC gaming titles connected to their Launcher to Steam, one of the largest, if not the largest digital storefront. However, the transfer doesn’t extend to gaming titles alone, and Bethesda arranged transfers of additional files to Steam as well.
As reported by Polygon, Bethesda announced the retirement of their Bethesda.net Launcher in February this year, offering no specific reason for the closure. Fans apparently didn’t even bother to ask for one. The platform has been in use since 2016 and has served as a place for fans of Bethesda’s titles, such as the Wolfenstein and Fallout gaming series, to purchase and launch games made by the publisher. The company’s latest announcement states that starting on May 11, players won’t be able to play and access their favorite games on the platform.
It’s worth noting that Bethesda is only shutting down its Launcher and not its other services that might be connected to their games. All titles purchased through the Launcher will be available to Bethesda’s users on Steam, free of charge, provided that they link two of the services together before the migration period expires if it ever does. Bethesda-issued accounts owned by players will, of course, remain functional and accessible via the company’s website and in-game titles that require sign-in to play.
However, video gaming titles aren’t the only thing transferred to Steam. Unlike Sony, which didn’t put any effort into transferring GTA Online accounts from PS3 to PS4 and beyond, Bethesda arranged for better transfer conditions for its customers. They might be pulling the plug, but at least they aren’t unscrupulous. Once the transfer to Steam is complete, Bethesda players will find their Wallets, progression, in-game currencies, saved games, and friend lists transferred along with the games.
However, the company has stated that, while the majority of the game files will be transferred automatically, certain save files may require manual transfers or copying to the user’s local Steam folders. Of course, once the migration is complete, players will have to re-download and re-install their games through Steam Launcher. That said, users will retain access to their games in the Library and will still be able to bring their games over to Steam after the Launcher has been put to rest. For how long will the company offer transfers remains to be seen.
It’s worth noting that Bethesda won’t issue any refunds if players happen to pre-own any of the company’s titles on Steam. The migration process, in terms of save files, progression, currencies, and friend lists, will still function, though, so we’re basically discussing the merger of two iterations of a single title. Still better than what Sony offered. Also, there is a notable exception: nearly all features of Wolfenstein: Youngblood can be transferred except for the game’s save files. If you have any questions regarding the migration of games, please refer to Bethesda’s official FAQ page.