Steam is in the news today for two reasons: firstly, Bethesda is killing off its game launcher, and shifting players over to Steam instead, and secondly, Valve is taking some action against dodgy discounts on its game store.
We’ll come back to the latter, but let’s start with the ‘sunsetting’ of the Bethesda.net launcher, which is soon to happen. In fact, starting from April, users will be able to migrate from Bethesda’s game launcher to Steam, taking all their games and wallet with them.
Bethesda posted to say: “We would like to thank you for your support and assure you that all of your games are safe.”
The firm further clarified: “You have plenty of time to plan and begin migrating your Bethesda.net library to your Steam account. The migration to Steam will include your game library and Wallet – meaning you will not lose anything from your Bethesda.net account.”
The saves you may have for “many” games will also be migrated to Steam automatically, but there may be a few titles which require manually moving the saves over. There are further details on how this manual process will work, and answers to other questions you may have, in Bethesda’s FAQ right here.
You’ll be able to use the Bethesda launcher until May 2021, but the company advises that as soon as the Steam migration process is made available, you should go through it.
Note that anyone with a Bethesda account will still have it, and be able to sign into it on the website (or with games that need it); it’s just the launcher software which is being ditched.
This move will be a relief to some, of course – there are multiple game launchers around these days from publishers, on top of stores like Steam, Epic and others, meaning some gamers definitely get frustrated about the number of different apps they can conceivably end up having to install.
That said, the Bethesda launcher wasn’t all that widely used, and many folks just got the firm’s games on Steam anyway, which is all doubtless part of the reasoning behind this move.
Steam’s new rules on discounts
As we mentioned at the outset, Valve is tightening up the rules for game publishers applying discounts to their products on Steam to clamp down on some of the misleading practices in this area.
What we’re mainly talking about here is a company hiking up the price of a certain game (or indeed multiple games) as a sale event approaches, to allow for the price to be slashed with what looks like a huge discount (but in reality is only so sizeable because the price was artificially jacked up beforehand). In some cases, the real discount applied might be very slender (or maybe even non-existent – the product is simply returned to the price it should be, and was, in the first place).
As Windows Central, which spotted Valve’s new rules, points out, there’s also a dodgy practice involving tiny discounts (like 1% off) to try to game Steam’s algorithm and get a chance of being featured during sales events.
The regulations now brought in don’t allow for discounts of less than 10% (or more than 90%, for that matter), and make it so that if the price of a game is raised, no further discount can be applied for 28 days thereafter. There are a number of other fresh rules on top of these, too, such as after a launch discount expires, it’s not possible to run another discount for 28 days.
These rule changes aren’t live yet, by the way – they come into effect on March 28.
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