Maybe it's a holdover from the days before digital distribution, but when you buy a game on disc, you expect to be able to install it from disc.
If this is a problem, why didn't you know about it beforehand?
Bethesda didn't publish this fact, doesn't include it in their product information, and didn't inform their support staff.
Months ago, I tried to find out if you could install the full game from disc. I tried:
- Bethesda Softworks Forums (no info; when asking the question, no one else knew either)
- Bethesda Store product page (no info)
- Retailer product pages (no info)
- Fallout 4 official site (no info)
- E-mailing Bethesda tech support (they didn't have an answer)
- E-mailing Bethesda store support (they didn't have an answer)
I raised the question in this forum, just over a month ago in the System Requirements thread, and someone said Pete Hines answered this on twitter. I looked through his twitter and found the relevant tweet - I don't remember exactly what was said, but it seemed like a yes. I figured this was what I needed, and didn't worry about it further.
Yesterday, I get my preorder copy in the mail. One DVD. Looking on Reddit, I find out that others have posted about this (the disc has about 5.2GB, and you have to download about 19GB). I also found references to another Pete Hines tweet, from around October 15, where he specified that you install part of the game from the disc, singular, and need to download the rest. Those who were complaining about this recently on Reddit just get a bunch of replies about how we already knew about this a long time ago. I don't constantly follow Fallout 4 news, on reddit or twitter or other sites. I don't watch unboxing videos. This wasn't mentioned on any of the gaming sites I follow regularly. When I went looking for this information, it wasn't there.
Why does this matter?
Right now, I have slow internet. And many people have data caps. So big downloads can be problematic. I preordered a retail copy specifically to avoid a huge day one download. And less importantly, so I could use my Best Buy GCU discount and rewards coupons. If I had known the full game wouldn't be in the box, I could have bought it on Steam and had several days to preload. I could have switched my preorder from PC to PS4.
Yes, I knew I'd need Steam and an internet connection to activate the game and install updates. Yes, I know games have day one updates, but they're (usually) not 19GB.
With just one disc, the only advantages of the physical copy now are saving 5.2GB of download (about 22% of the full game), the physical box (perks poster included), and the option to buy from a brick & mortar store (though you can buy Steam cards there, too). A physical PC copy of Fallout 4 is only marginally better than the PC copies of MGS V that just had a Steam key in the box.
Well the game obviously can't fit on one DVD. Didn't they have to do it this way?
But it could have fit on 3 or 4 DVDs. Yes, that would increase costs, but I have to imagine that boxed PC copies are a pretty small percentage of what they print/ship. (And would it really be that much more expensive than the console versions' blu-rays?)
You know what wouldn't cost more? Communication. When Bethesda knows enough about the final game to publish system requirements, maybe they could let us know that only part of the game is on disc. Just be up front about it so we can make informed buying decisions, instead of finding this out on release day.
What am I going to do now? I'm going to start the install/download tonight and probably start playing sometime this weekend.