That’s according to the FAQ for the beta test of the game, which states that the PC incarnation will be available “via Bethesda.net only”. PC Gamer also got official confirmation from Bethesda in a statement which read: “The PC version of Fallout 76, for both the B.E.T.A. and the launch, will be available only via Bethesda.net, not on Steam.”
Regarding the details of the beta test, another interesting revelation came from Bethesda in terms of the fact that the beta will effectively be the full game, and your progress will be carried over to the purchased version (at least that’s the plan right now).
There will be no NDA for the beta, either, so it will be just like playing the fully-fledged version of Fallout 76, more or less.
Going back to the lack of availability on Steam, though, that will obviously be pretty disappointing for those who use Valve’s online store. The ability to buy a game there is pretty much expected by PC gamers, although clearly Bethesda wants to take advantage of being able to maintain control of sales itself, and figures the game is a big enough draw to be able to do that.
What might happen is that Bethesda exclusively sells the game online itself to begin with, but after a period of time, releases it to other digital distribution channels like Steam. That seems a likely prospect, given that it would be somewhat difficult to believe that Fallout 76 will never be available on Steam or elsewhere.
At any rate, if you’re planning on playing Fallout 76 – which is described as a ‘softcore survival’ game that focuses on online multiplayer – the beta just became a far more tempting proposition, and you can sign up here(note that you need to pre-order the game). The beta is expected to take place in October, ahead of the full launch of the game in November.