The saying “be cruel to the kind and you’ll take every fool” can’t stop ringing true in Fallout 76’s case. Bethesda Softworks and Bethesda Game Studios know how far they can go, and the $7 refrigerator is a prime example of using the words “the atomic shop is purely cosmetic” for marketing purposes to bait and switch the gullible for the green in their pockets.
Both branches of Bethesda (the publisher and developer) are playing on the vicious victim mentality that runs rampant in the Fallout 76 community in that the company knows you can’t help the fans crying out for help, because they’ll shoot you down by saying, “It’s not about pay-to-win mechanics in the atomic shop. Give us good stuff to pay for!”
To put things in perspective, Bethesda chief Pete Hines was sent out to divert any thoughts on Fallout 76 having any microtransaction like Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 or Assassin’s Creed Odyssey back in 2018. In fact, website Forbs cited Hines saying this to Xbox’s Larry Hyrb (or Major Nelson) last year:
“You get them [Atoms] as little rewards leaving the Vault or the first time you kill a creature or the first time you pick fruits or vegetables from somewhere. It’s a little challenge reward. Atoms are used in our shop to buy cosmetics things. So you know, new outfits or skins or things like that.”
But that’s not all, Bethesda used the “none predatory Atomic Shop” narrative as an actual marketing tool during E3 2018 and PAX Aus 2018. Publication site vgr.com even cited GameSpot‘s interview with Hines on the “none pay-to-win” system:
“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. That you know, when they put out new content or features or whatever, I’m getting that stuff for free. That feels right.”
Looking back further than October 2018, back in August 2018, Hines and crew were using the “cosmetic only” narrative as a selling point on social media too:
Yes, as we have said there will be cosmetic ones. And you can buy any of it with in-game currency as well. All the dlc/new content will be free.
— Pete Hines (@DCDeacon) August 22, 2018
No. Only cosmetic.
— Pete Hines (@DCDeacon) August 23, 2018
Fast forward to today, and we now see a refrigerator that can keep food from spoiling by 50% is now in the Atomic Shop as per the latest update:
We don’t mind paying for skins but make the Fridge and Scavenger free. You said we would be paying for cosmetics only. pic.twitter.com/wL597C7MEq
— Stush | STEVE8K 💙 (@Steve8Kofficial) September 10, 2019
The disgusting part about this is how Bethesda used a marketing tactic of “sincerity” or “transparency” to ride the “good train” during a time when the Star Wars: Battlefront 2 debacle was simmering down and when Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey microtransaction controversies were picking up.
And as of now, Bethesda hasn’t even addressed said cosmetic marketing lie, which in turn has kicked up apologist defending the company’s egregious actions.
Lastly, the latest update for Fallout 76 brings a list of things, but one of them is a stat altering refrigerator that runs for $7 in the Atomic Shop — which is supposedly a cosmetic place only.