Fallout 76 Officially Backpedals on Cosmetic-Only Microtransaction Promise

When Bethesda announced a delay to their Wastelanders update for Fallout 76, other information announced at the time revealed that the company would be selling gameplay-affecting microtransactions, despite earlier promises of it only being cosmetic items.

On October 17th, Bethesda announced that their Wastelanders update would be delayed, along with information about private worlds and the Atomic Shop. The Atomic Shop is Fallout 76’s microtransaction store.

The statement regarding “Challenges, Atoms, The Atomic Shop, and You.” While the Atom Shop quietly added gameplay-altering items back in April (including repair kits), the statement claims the game will be reworked so “all kinds of players” can enjoy themselves.

“We love that there are so many types of players within Fallout 76, and one of our primary goals is to reward everyone, no matter how you play. This includes our approach to earning Atoms through Challenges and the types of items to unlock with them in the Atomic Shop.

Our approach to these items at launch was to keep them purely cosmetic. But after looking at all the data, it became clear that to consistently deliver content that keeps Fallout 76 fresh and exciting for all, we needed to rethink our approach to the Atomic Shop.

While we had many ideas on what to add to the Atomic Shop, one of the ways was the direct result of the community’s feedback. We heard from many of you who wanted items with some real utility. Starting in April, we began adding items such as Repair Kits, Scrap Kits, the Collectron Station, and a working Refrigerator. These have since become the most popular category in the Atomic Shop. We’re also still working on all the previously announced items and new cosmetic categories.

We want to create an Atomic Shop experience where players feel good about spending their hard-earned Atoms. To make the system more fun and engaging for all players, we plan on reworking parts of the Challenge and reward system next year to be clearer, more fun, and more impactful for all types of players.

Of course, players can also buy Atoms, and we’re careful with everything we add to not upset the game’s balance. Our main objective is to avoid a situation where players can spend money to gain a competitive advantage or make the game worse for other players. Even more so, we want systems that allow players who do choose to buy Atoms to make the game better for others, not just themselves. With these principles in mind, we make careful decisions about the items we offer to keep it fair for everyone.”

This runs counter to earlier promises made by Bethesda (and their Senior Vice President of Global Marketing & Communications Pete Hines) to only sell cosmetic items in the Atom Shop. It is hypothetically possible that the abandoning of costmetic-only microtransactions is an attempt to recoup losses and/or not meeting expected sales goals after a disastrous launch.

Fallout 76 has been plagued with issues both in-game and in real life. While Bethesda Director and Executive Producer Todd Howard stated he knew we were gonna have a lot of bumps,” the issues have been numerous and serious.

When the game was launched, it was discovered to be heavily buggy (as documented by  Internet Historian and Joseph Anderson (Editor’s Note: Niche Gamer is not affiliated with either of these YouTube accounts, nor it support any allegations made in these videos). This resulted in extremely low reviewer and user scores. In addition, several special edition items were not as advertised, or had to be recalled.

In case you missed it, our story on the Fallout 76 power helmets that had to be recalled has been updated with new information.

Fallout 76 is now available for Windows PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. In case you missed it – you can find our very thorough review for the game here.

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Taking his first steps onto Route 1 and never stopping, Ryan has had a love of RPGs since a young age. Now he's learning to appreciate a wider pallet of genres and challenges.