Bethesda is rescinding the internet connectivity requirement built in to its recent ports of Doom and Doom 2 on the Nintendo Switch, the publisher announced over the weekend. “The BethesdaNet login requirement was included for the Slayers Club, to reward members for playing the classic DOOM games,” Bethesda said in a tweet. “The login should be optional, and we are working on changing the requirement to optional now.” Bethesda gave no clue as to when the issue might be resolved, saying only that it “will update everyone when a fix is ready.”
Bethesda surprised Quakecon 2019 attendees last Friday by announcing that Doom, Doom 2, and Doom 3 were all available on modern consoles for the first time. For reasons that were unclear at the time, Doom and Doom 2 were altered from their original 90s forms to require a Bethesda Net login, which meant that an internet connection was required to play. This wasn’t much of an issue for the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One ports, but it meant that Nintendo Switch owners wouldn’t be able to slay the hordes of hell on the move.
We readily (and happily!) blamed this bizarre occurrence on capitalism. Meanwhile, the rest of the internet went about the proper business of turning the whole situation into a meme, by imaging other classic games that might also require Bethesda Net accounts in order to play. It was all hilarious and in good fun, and surprisingly, it appears to have worked.
Update on our new classic DOOM releases:
The BethesdaNet login requirement was included for the Slayers Club, to reward members for playing the classic DOOM games.
The login should be optional, and we are working on changing the requirement to optional now.
— Bethesda (@bethesda) July 27, 2019
Bethesda won’t get full credit until the fix is actually implemented, of course, but it’s nice to see a ridiculous problem be met with an equally ridiculous response. It just goes to show how effective embarrassment can be as a tool to get enormous companies to fall in line. Nobody had to threaten anyone, nobody had to get doxxed, all it took was turning Bethesda’s transparent attempt at boosting Bethesda Net signups into exactly what we knew it was already: a big joke. Nothing is more terrifying to a brand than the idea that people aren’t taking it seriously.
Mind you, there is plenty happening in the video game industry right now worth getting upset about, so I’m not gonna sit here and say that memes are the solution to every problem. Memes aren’t going to do anything to stop rampant discrimination against federally protected peoples in the video game industry. Memes aren’t going to erase the need for widespread unionization in the video game industry. Memes can’t prevent what happened to Telltale from happening again. Memes won’t get black artists paid for the dances that Epic stole from them.
But sometimes, when the injustice at hand is small enough, and the audacity with which it is carried out blatant enough, memes can do some damn good in the world. Getting Bethesda to walk this all back is, ultimately, completely meaningless, but for today at least, we can revel in the small victory afforded to us. Stand tall, good memers of Twitter, Reddit, and elsewhere. Stand tall and be proud!