Fallout 76 Has Microtransactions, But Bethesda Insists It's Not Pay-To-Win

Bethesda boss Pete Hines talks about how microtransactions are used in the PS4, Xbox One, and PC game.

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Now Playing: Our Mixed Feelings From The Fallout 76 Beta

Like many other big games, the soon-to-launch Fallout 76 will feature microtransactions. But Bethesda boss Pete Hines doesn't want you to worry about them. Speaking to GameSpot at PAX Aus, Hines stressed that Bethesda will only offer cosmetics to buy with real money, not items that can affect gameplay.

This is a crucial point given that, unlike previous entries in the series, Fallout 76 is a multiplayer-focused game where players have the opportunity to go head-to-head with other human combatants. Being able to purchase better weapons could throw off the balance and give players the ability to pay to win, essentially, Hines said.

Fallout 76's microtransactions come in the form of Atoms, which you can buy with real money in the Atomic Shop or unlock through gameplay. Bethesda has yet to announce the price points for Atoms, but whatever the case, Hines said Bethesda will reward players with heaps of Atoms for completing certain tasks and objectives in the wasteland.

"If you don't want to spend money in the Atomic shop for cosmetic stuff you don't have to. We give you a sh*tload of Atoms just for playing the game," Hines said. "Folks that want to spend money on whatever the hell it is because they don't have enough Atoms, they can, but it's not, 'I'm now better playing against other players because I spent money.' It's not pay-to-win. And it's not loot crates."

Hines went on to say that Bethesda has always tried to be "on the right side of the line" as it relates to microtransaction systems within its games. Hines acknowledged that it can be a "pretty ambiguous line," but the studio has always strived to avoid situations that feel like money-grabs. Like other publishers, Bethesda has learned the best way forward by following industry trends and gathering feedback from players.

Fallout 76's DLC packs, whatever form they end up taking, will be completely free. That's a change of pace for the franchise, as Bethesda previously sold a variety of extra content for games like Fallout 3 and Fallout 4. Giving Fallout 76's extra content away for free will hopefully make players feel like they are not being taken advantage of, Hines said.

"All the content we ever put out for Fallout 76--all the DLC, all the post-launch stuff--is going to be free. That's important. And to say, the Atomic shop is cosmetic stuff. To make sure folks understand--look there's a line. There are people who have crossed it, but we're going to stay on the right side of it in terms of the things you can spend money on and how this stuff works and what you're getting for your $60," Hines said. "That you know, when they put out new content or features or whatever, I'm getting that stuff for free. That feels right."

Everyone who pre-orders Fallout 76 on Xbox One gets 500 Atoms right away, but how much value this really offers won't be clear until Bethesda reveals the cost of in-game items. Microsoft's partnership with Bethesda goes further, as the company is also releasing a 1 TB Xbox One X bundle that comes with a copy of Fallout 76.

It appears Bethesda is following the model of games like Overwatch and Fortnite in that it will only allow players to spend real money on cosmetics, not items or abilities that actually affect the game. 2017's Star Wars: Battlefront II originally featured a microtransaction system that allowed players to spend real money on items and weapons that actually affected the game. Following an uproar, Electronic Arts and developer DICE reversed course, and now the game only lets you buy cosmetics.

Another element of note in this story is how Fallout 76's new perk system delivers them through Perk Cards. After this was announced, many wondered if players would be able to buy these with real money. However, Bethesda confirmed that it will not allow players to spend real money to acquire new perks.

Fallout 76 launches on November 14 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Players who pre-order can start playing early through limited-time beta testing sessions; all progress carries forward. In other news, Bethesda has confirmed that Fallout 76 won't launch on Nintendo Switch because it "wasn't doable."

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Avatar image for mboettcher

This game just gets better and better.

Avatar image for snugglebear

Everyone who preordered should get the free Atoms. Xbox got the early beta hours. Thats enough. Im paying the same amount as anyone else.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k

Spare us. Your game isn't free to play is it? Oh it's not? Then microtransactions have no place in it.

Avatar image for TransvormerSCol

Just like the mainstream "AAA" misleading publishers, Bethesda has fallen to the level of publishing quantity and not quality games. (actually since quite a while already, I don't count only Fallout 76 into this fact, but also many of their previous games released in the current decade)

This statement about the microtransactions (MTX)is just the same publishers were doing since ages: promise something to potential customers, and once they buy the game, flood it with the real mtx offers in order to fulfil the initial business-model.

With such statements, it's more than just obvious that they even prepared the game so it will support a suitable, profit-only-oriented MTX-system, so the game-system will be built in a way that is going to accommodates MTX offers at costs of the gaming experience, e.g. making things in the game harder to farm or perhaps making it even an endless grind etc.

And of course the real thing will be implemented later with upcoming patches which are planned from now on already. The stuff isn't implemented yet, and that's why they can say "it's not pay-to-win" not mentioning the "yet" at the end of their "promise" which I simply call a very bad farce. You can surely expect that you'll be allowed to "cheat" later with using your real money.

It's always like this with MTX. They use alternate explanations to not expose their true intentions of their actual business behind it.

I don't recommend to support this behaviour, and if you care about quality games, then you shouldn't support it either. But hey, that's just my opinion.

Besides, I don't think that Bethesda published any quality games during the last decade anyway. A lot of game reviews of their products were made just very bad, Gamespot's Reviews included (sorry about that but it really is bad). Their games were not even finished yet, and cheap and poor in content (e.g. remember the Screen-Real Estate in Skyrim?) abusing their "AAA" fame , and furthermore abusing the mod-capabilities and the big mod community which actually made their games "enjoyable", while Bethesda took all the fame for it, and not the Mod authors who basically "finalized" the games. I am not saying having a wide variety to modify the game is a bad thing, no it's a great thing, but I don't agree that this is enough to justify the development of the base game with a great idea so damn half-hearted and shifting the "patches" and "content-updates" to the mod-community. In fact, I do think that this is even a well organized business-model which brings them not only fame, but mainly a lot of profit as well from people who don't realize this. And believe me, there is many people who don't know anything about this kind of business which is being executed for years.

Avatar image for siarhei

LMAO. Called it the moment I saw that card pack in the beta.

Hard pass: pass harder the game.

Avatar image for gzaface

The same Bethesda that want to charge for mods made by fans/modders?, the same Bethesda that introduce the banal dlc (horse armor)?, the same Bethesda that refuses to fix bugs in their games?, nah thank you, i'll pass in this "live service" attempt to empty my wallet.

Avatar image for shulet

@gzaface: 🙄 It's official content that's built like mods and half of them are done by Bethesda itself. Plus it's the only way for PS4 users to experience content like this due to Sony's anti-consumer stances. Also, it's the only way to add content to the consoles without disabling achievements which is a huge selling point.

You do have a legitimate gripe about the bugs though.

Avatar image for vilified_signals

I see a lot of people decrying this game as trash. Just because it's online.

Now, the only thing, I assume, that you'll be able to buy with Atom is paint jobs. Gun paint and Power Armor paint.
And even then, I've earned at least 500 in my short time playing.

I can say from playing the beta and stress tests that this game is basically Fallout 4. Just with a different perk system, repairable weapons, and a few extra bells and whistles. The multiplayer aspect is cool. I enjoyed it. Finding some random person on the map is unique. Sure, you have these huge groups battling it out in some areas, but I avoid that like the plague. I'm exploring and killing and looting and making my guns better. The same thing I do after all the story in Fallout 4 is complete. I can just play this with a friend. Or 3.

Wood is a precious resource. You use it to cook food. Because you can't buy stimpaks like you used to be able to.

Food is your friend. Cooking is your best friend. Building a base? Not so much.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k

@vilified_signals: "I can say from playing the beta and stress tests that this game is basically Fallout 4"

So it's bad?

Avatar image for vilified_signals


"I can say from playing the beta and stress tests that this game is basically Fallout 4. Just with a different perk system, repairable weapons, and a few extra bells and whistles."
Don't take out half quotes just to suit your rhetoric.

You have far superior crafting. You have to repair your gear. You are forced to use hunger and thirst for the duration of your play. You can get diseases that either go away on their own or stick with you until you cure them. Food will spoil. eating raw food or spoiled food can give you a disease. I got parasites that lasted 3 full in game days. It drained my food bar. It sucked, but it was awesome. I got swamp itch from lying on a mattress on the ground. I still have to cure that. It takes -2 from my agility, something I use a lot. VATS is far superior in this version. I didn't know that I hated the slow down until I played this game.

Every single time I have gotten to play this game, I have had nothing but fun with it. If you try and ruin that for me, that doesn't make it a bad game. That's you projecting. Don't like it? Don't play it. Don't talk about it. Sever it from your mind. Keep it out of your mind. Ignore everything about it. Allow those of us who do enjoy it continue to talk about it.

Avatar image for spacemanspiff94

@vilified_signals: I just started the Beta last night (PS4) and I love it. The only thing I would say you might have missed is that you can buy stimpaks. I found a vendor that was selling them for 100 caps a piece.

Avatar image for vilified_signals

@spacemanspiff94: Yeah, it was amazing. I found some over by a carnival that was going for 91. But I also found out that I could purchase some stuff with my atom. So I bought a new profile picture for my name on the in game social area, and some clothes. I had to craft the clothes. And they offered no boosts to my stats. They were just for flair.

Which was great! But I still had to craft them. It literally just unlocked the crafting recipe. And if that's all that is? I sincerely doubt anyone would buy atom. Unless they want some kind of duster set.

I'd spend money to get a duster set...

Avatar image for spacemanspiff94

@vilified_signals: Haha I'll need to check out the Atom store on thursday. I had to work into most of the beta yesterday. From what I can tell any clothing that isn't specifically armor is just that, clothing. Plus depending on what clothing you have the armor goes under it instead of on top. I'm currently wearing a greaser outfit but still have a full set of armor on that doesn't show like it does for the vault suit.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k

@vilified_signals: That doesn't sound good.......it's like Fallout 4 which was already bad coupled with survival game mechanics. (Another bad genre)

Avatar image for vilified_signals


Then please re-read the last bit of my post and move on? I don't know how to help you. I don't want to help you.

You have already made up your mind, and nothing I say will change that. So move on. You already know you won't like it, so don't buy it and stop talking about it. Allow the rest of us to play it and enjoy it. Or maybe you just want everyone else to suffer?

Avatar image for Thanatos2k

@vilified_signals: You're the one who keeps replying.

Avatar image for vilified_signals

@Thanatos2k: Now, I feel that you're just attempting to get the last word after being shut down. So sure, go ahead and reply to this and I will stop replying.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k

@vilified_signals: Shut down what. You're the one claiming it's like Fallout 4, a Fallout game that was a massive disappointment. "It's like Fallout 4 - it's fun!" makes one question the accuracy of such a statement.

But I can tell you're one of those people who needs to get the last post so go ahead. You've already admitted you just want an echo chamber.

Avatar image for shulet

@vilified_signals: The Creation Club is coming to FO76 so there will be more than paint jobs that are purchasable with real money.

Avatar image for vilified_signals

@shulet: There has been no confirmation of that.

Besides, the creation club has only ever had flavor add ons or immersion add ons. They are heavily moderated so that nothing will ever break something in game.

Mods, on the other hand, can be game breaking. Free crafting, no more carry weight. These things are going to be on the private servers only. Bethesda will never allow anything that will boost character power to be added in to the creation club for fallout 76.

I, personally, will never us creation club. Mods are so much better. I vote with my wallet.

Avatar image for mrdinghat

Everything I hear about this game just sounds worse by the second, please stick to single player Fallout in the future Bethesda.

Avatar image for gord0nd

@mrdinghat: while my excitement has waned by whats being put out there....this here does not make it sound worse. Microtransactions were announced on day one. The confirmation that it is purely cosmetic is good news. They have to finance the servers and make money over the long term somehow.

Everything in this announcement is positive.

-Microtransactions purely cosmetic = win

-The currency that is used in microtransaction is freely available in game. So not only is it purely cosmetic, its all accessable for free too. = win.

So while i do share your concern of how this game will ultimately turn out, I dont need to poopoo on everything 76 just because its 76.

And in the end, I will probably wait until month 2 before i make the decision to purchase or move on.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k

@gord0nd: "They have to finance the servers and make money over the long term somehow."

That's what the $60 price tag is for. The claim that the game would be unprofitable if they didn't add pathetic microtransactions is and has always been a myth.

Avatar image for gord0nd

@Thanatos2k: if micrtransactions truly offer nothing that can't be reasonably be obtained for free, and offer no advantage over those who don't buy them, then what's the issue.

And I don't get how them wanting to make money with their business is such a bad thing when done is such a reasonable way. Sure people make $$$, but it also finances the fact that all future dlc will be free.

And yes, servers do cost money. This is a pure online multiplayer product. So they have a way to keep it profitable over the long term. And it is a way that (if it is as claimed) seems way more legit and balanced than most others out there.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k

@gord0nd: "if micrtransactions truly offer nothing that can't be reasonably be obtained for free, and offer no advantage over those who don't buy them, then what's the issue."

If microtransactions truly offer nothing that can't reasonably be obtained for free and offer no advantage over those who don't buy them - no one would buy them.

So let me ask you - why would a company waste time money and manpower making a product they don't expect anyone to buy....?

"This is a pure online multiplayer product. So they have a way to keep it profitable over the long term"

If they charged $60 and only $60, the game would be profitable over the long term even with server expenses. Are you kidding?

Avatar image for gord0nd

@Thanatos2k: some people would rather get the outfit/skins they want without having to hunt for it. Joe Bob has farmed enough for his pants, shirt,gloves, but doesn't want to wait an hour of gameplay to finish the outfit for the hat. Skins of course. Realizes he can spend $2.50 and get it right away. No stat boost, no mechanic boost...he just now has an orange color to his hat.

Or it's Christmas....they release a Santa outfit, but you just spent all your currency on that halloween outfit and don't have enough for a complete set, and want to show off Santa duds. $5 bucks and it's yours.

There is no actual benefit in game other than you want it now.

As for the $60 price tag...i don't disagree totally. Plenty of free games that sell just cosmetics to finance their future support.

Hopefully 76 will allow you to get currency at a rate you would expect in a game that didn't have microtransactions..... I don't want to grind for 10 hours to get enough for a hat that costs 50 cents to the credit card warrior.

I am hoping that when it goes live that most people can look at the microtransactions and go...."whytf would I spend $20 for something I can get in a couple days casual playing" but joeblow sees everyone in his clan wearing the exact same outfit and realizes he has no time to play over the next few days but wants to match for the stream next week.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k

@gord0nd: So why wouldn't they do everything in their power to design a system that causes the most amount of people to be pressured into needing the microtransactions? To prey on people and make sure they never quite have enough to buy what they want? Oh wait, that's exactly what they do. If you're not exploiting your playerbase, it would make zero sense to let people pay to not play the game. After all, if the game is fun, wouldn't you WANT to play it?

Let's not even go into the fact that cosmetic items are core gameplay elements of a multiplayer game, and the "It's just cosmetic" argument is a load of garbage.

Avatar image for gord0nd

@Thanatos2k: cosmetics are the core gameplay? This is the opinion that causes the division of our perspective. We can agree to disagree.

My opinion is cosmetics are just a fun little part, therefor I don't mind people being able to spend money to bypass the grind to get them.

Your opinion that cosmetics are core is valid, and from that perspective I guess I can see your complaint. Wanting to be able to be distinguished as someone who earned these rewards rather than those that just bought them.

Would be nice then to have the really cool skins only obtainable through achievement. Allowing you to peacock around a bit.

But just because you see cosmetics as being the core gameplay doesn't make other views "garbage". It's just an opinion.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k

@gord0nd: Except it's not opinion.


Avatar image for gord0nd

@Thanatos2k: It is opinion. That is a video of some guy who shares your opinion. If you needed to wear an orange shirt in order to access content, and that could be purchased, then sure its a core component of the game. But that is not what is happening here.

There is a real easy way to determine if cosmetic skins in a game such as fallout76 being a core gameplay element is an opinion or not.

- some people think it is

- some people think it isnt.

its just that easy.

Also you dont need to spend any money to access any of this content...its all free within the game. And assuming the dev claims are truthfull (remains to be seen), all this content can be earned at a reasonable rate for free. (unlike some free to play where you need insane amount of grinding to get anything for free that is in cash shop)

I know you dont agree. That is fine. Your agreement is not necessary for the many people who do agree that microtransactions that do not effect gameplay, and can be gotten for free with reasonable amounts of play, is not a big deal.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k

@gord0nd: Ah yes, hide behind "opinions can't be wrong!" instead of debating the arguments. "It's optional" was already debunked. You didn't even watch the video, you can admit it.

Thinking something doesn't make one right or one's opinion valid. Thinking something in the face of evidence and just repeating "Well it's my opinion" makes one look foolish. Especially when that opinion is fundamentally compromising the design of video games for everyone.

Avatar image for gord0nd

@Thanatos2k: Can you complete every encounter, every area, every boss, every quest, every puzzle, every sidequest, every bit of crafting, every bit of content that comes in the game without spending a dime on the microtransactions, or even getting the free cosmetics?

Do the cosmetics enable any of that core gameplay at all? no. Its a secondary thing.

You can hate it and call it wrong all you want. You can call people foolish, but those are the facts. Its plain and simple. You can convolute it all you want, and spin it into a "well if you look at it from this perspective, and make these assumptions, then blah blah industry going here and companies are evil shills that just want money" does not change any of those basic facts.

Cosmetics do not enable nor assist in the core gameplay at all. They are cosmetic.

There is your evidence, plain, simple, factual. They could be removed completely and the "core" game would be unchanged.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k

@gord0nd: You keep seeming to miss the points entirely, like that the addition of microtransactions changes the economy of these games, and not in a way that ever improves the game.

You seem to miss the point that cosmetics in a multiplayer game is a core feature of the gameplay, which is why people care about them at all.

The video covered this, but you didn't watch it. You should probably do so before trotting out the same debunked arguments and calling them facts. I'll wait. They're not facts. Which is weird since you staked your entire post on "It's opinion. Some people don't share it" and then tried a "It's fact!" 180. I guess you just argue randomly? Or maybe you'll just say anything.

Avatar image for gord0nd

@Thanatos2k: I have made my points very clear and backed them up. You just seem to want to find something to debate about. I made my facts clear about what is the core gameplay as stated in prev post. I have made my opinion about the impact to myself the cosmetics have and have expressed understanding that your opinion may differ.

Its all there, and clear. If you can not understand it, that's on you. However i think you do understand it, and are just trying to argue some point you are not really sure of yet.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k

@gord0nd: No, you've just made declarative statements and said they were opinions, then later tried to say they were facts when they had no evidence backing them regardless. You didn't even listen to my arguments because you can't refute them.

"Well, it's not core gameplay to me" isn't an argument. And it's not even true.

It's the usual M.O. of someone defending something indefensible. It's undeniable this game has been made worse by microtransactions, as every full priced game with their inclusion has been in the past and fundamentally compromised their design. This much has been made not even debatable after they were removed from Star Wars Battlefront 2 and Shadow of War, and the games needed rebalancing as a result.

You're not debating you're just spinning in a circle, so you might as well get one final post in, you clearly need it.

Avatar image for gord0nd

@Thanatos2k: nothing you said disuades the opinions I shared, nor the facts I stated. It's all right there. It isn't a puzzle, I don't see why you are so confused. But we can leave it at that. I'm sure you will respond with something to get the last word, which is fine. But it's all right there clearly posted.

Avatar image for shulet

@gord0nd: Only until the Creation Club is added...

Avatar image for gleencross

It seems this game uses a similar Battlefront 2 system, you level up through cards or something. If the micro-transactions are not related with those cards, then what they will sell for the idio... I mean, the players? Skins? And its amusing how Bethesda is showing a ugly demo right after the release of Red Dead 2 lol It's like, "let's show our piece of garbage right when the players are experimenting a great product, that will work". I mean.. even if bethesda fanatics still support their games, producing content and even fixing their mess for free, I believe even some of these fanatics will feel discouraged. Bethesda, the masters of marketing and hype, committing such a obvious mistake... It's weird.

Avatar image for Pyrosa

@gleencross: You get a point per level to assign to SPECIAL, same as Fallout 4, but the perks under each stat are in the form of cards. You can have as many perk cards as you have points in that stat, and can combine cards (so 3 INT could mean a 1 in First Aid and a 2 in Pharmacist, while with a 1 in STR maybe you play 1 Pack Mule). You rearrange cards every level up if you want. There's no need to respec, because you just keep earning levels/points. (Just don't put points in CHR if you play solo.) Everyone starts at all 1s.

Cosmetics are clearly going to be similar to ESO: Paints and Costumes. F76 has the same equipment crafting & mod system as F4: You have a base under-outfit that has few/no stats, and your crafted/looted armor goes atop that. But more items can be painted now than in F4, and I also expect more "full-view" costumes the same as ESO that completely superimpose atop all of that. (If you ever applied cosmetic paint jobs to power armor, it's like that, minus stat bonuses.)

There are already so many under-outfits in-game that I'm not seeing a need for MTX costumes, but to each their own.

You want to be a waitress with a clown head? Motorcycle baseball player? Have fun.

Avatar image for gleencross

@Pyrosa: Interesting, the card system looks neat. But if they sell those cards, the game automatically becomes pay-to-win. As cosmetic goes, I never had any issue with that, it's fair. If you want to buy a unicorn head, that's ok, it's subjective to taste. Now to buy advantages in-game, nope, that's not ok at all. The whole point of any game is related to the challenge, if you use tricks and cheats to beat this challenge, what is the point? I know some people like to cheat just to troll (literally) the game. But if you go competitive and cheat to win, I see no reason at all to do that. In the end, this fallout looks like diablo to me. A friend of mine is a huge diablo fan, unlike me, but following what he told me about the game... you go around, exploring, looting, leveling up to acquire epic items, etc.. A eternal cycle of looting for better stuff, PvP, etc.. It's not appealing to me, but the grinding is the charm of this kind of game. If the player cheese through this grinding because he bought dozens of cards, maybe to show up his epic stats and gear for the newcomers... Maybe that's the appeal of cheating in this kind of game? idrk, this kind of experience is just dull imo But I am still curious if this game will go down in flames or not, Bethesda deserves to fail. To use the community to create more content and fix their games for free... For me this is just as evil (if not more) compared to what EA does.

Avatar image for edwardnygma

Just one more reason not to buy this.

Avatar image for obnice

time will tell

Avatar image for Mogan

@obnice: Except here, where everyone has already made up their minds so they can get mad about it.

Avatar image for uninspiredcup

Hey guys, we know you hate them, but....


Avatar image for Barighm

Yeah, like we haven't heard this story before...

Avatar image for jyml8582

So it's pay to lose?

Avatar image for gustavob

@jyml8582: pay to be a loser is more like it.