Microsoft's defunct Games for Windows Live (GFWL) platform is no longer plaguing Fallout 3. The 2008-released hugely impactful RPG by Bethesda received an update out of nowhere on Steam that removes the requirements for the service entirely, finally letting owners launch and enjoy the game without resorting to workarounds. Funnily enough, the removal arrives only after Microsoft acquired Bethesda.
GFWL was Microsoft's original attempt at bringing in PC gamers to the Xbox Live ecosystem, but it was not very successful, to say the least. Grand Theft Auto IV was another game that removed the requirement only last year after issues with generating new activation keys.
The GOG version of Fallout 3 has been GFWL-free since its first arrival on the DRM-free storefront, but the Steam version has been stubbornly kept intact without changes for the last 12 years or so.
The tiny update, named 1.7.04, weighs around 5MB, and is now available for Fallout 3 and its Game of the Year variant. The patch notes on Steam bluntly reads "The title no longer requires Games for Windows Live and will now launch." If problems come up in existing installations, a reinstall of the game is recommended as well. Meanwhile, a readme in the game files add that "Improvements to stability and performance (LargeAddressAware and thread setting updates)" have been made as well.
It's unclear what sort of an impact will this have on the massive modding scene for the title, considering even slight changes to game files can affect entire libraries. At the same time, for anyone looking to jump in for the first time, a hefty sale has hit the entire Fallout franchise, bringing down the price of Fallout 3 base game to just $3.