Fallout 76 PC Discs are Cardboard in the Physical Editions

Owners of  Fallout 76 on PC are reporting that the game doesn’t come with a physical disc. Instead, the case included contains a cardboard disc with a code printed on it to redeem the game on Bethesda’s website. It’s been a standard practice just to include an installer for the appropriate digital distribution platform on the disc for a while now. However, this is one of the first instances where even in a collector’s edition I’ve seen that formality has been dropped.

Since Steam made digital distribution the predominant method of game delivery on the PC, physical game sales on the platform have plummeted. Blu-Ray is the new standard, and with games only getting bigger, games on disc for PC just aren’t that feasible without publishers returning to the multi-disc install methods of the past. However, with Fallout 76 we are seeing the death of even so much as a token effort to include a disc.

My Fallout 76 came with only a carton disc. from r/gaming

Most PC users don’t have a Blu-Ray drive installed in their computers so I can understand the conundrum in trying to deliver a physical version of PC games, but it’s a bit ridiculous to offer a steelbook with no disc. The whole point of a case is to protect a disc, and a cardboard circle in the place of physical media seems a bit silly. Sure, there’s the collector’s appeal of a steelbook, but to me, with a cardboard disc inside, that case would feel like a tiny little lie sitting on my shelf.

Of course, this whole thing plays into the debate of whether we actually own our games or not anymore. When Bethesda stops supporting Fallout 76, will we still be able to download and play it, or will it just cease to be? We’ve had promises of private servers for the game down the road, but if you can’t even download a copy, and you can’t own it on a disc, then the future of the game will always be uncertain.