Fallout 76 (Our Review) has been rife with issues and controversies since it launched in November last year. We've reported extensively on these such as screen issues on PlayStation 4 and the banning of a player who accumulated too much ammo. We've also published a comprehensive analysis of its legal situation following the infamous Canvas Bag Controversy. Bethesda's latest Fallout 76 blunder involves a refrigerator microtransaction, betraying its promise to keep the Atomic Shop exclusively for cosmetic microtransactions.
Bethesda Softworks' VP of Marketing and PR Pete Hines previously made a point on keeping microtransactions "only cosmetic" back in September last year, in an interview with Metro:
Well, we really try… we’re pretty aware of where the line is and try and sit on the right side of that line. So I’ll give you an example, it’s not like microtransactions haven’t been a four-letter word in this industry, amongst certain folks, for a while. We have microtransactions in Fallout 76. But, they’re only cosmetic. Anything we’re selling for real money you can also buy with in-game currency that you get as a reward while you play.Needless to say, players and fans are up in arms over it. A post on the r/fo76 subreddit makes an excellent case: "Adding a new functionality behind additional payment is completely opposite to cosmetic-only Atomic store promise."
According to the patch notes, the functionality is, in fact, intentional: "Refrigerators: After building a Refrigerator in C.A.M.P., players can assign food and drink items to it from the Stash to slow their spoilage rate by 50%. Refrigerators can be unlocked in the Atomic Shop."
There is also a Collectron Station that collects scrap or junk, with 13 items collected per hour, making 10lbs of carry weight. It's another microtransaction with a high degree of functionality that goes against the principle of keeping them only as cosmetics.
Bethesda has yet to address the controversy. You could say that the company is "nuking the fridge" by turning Fallout into a travesty of itself. This is exactly the sort of thing Fallout intended to parody, and the irony seems lost on them.
What do you think of this microtransaction? Is this going to become a standard in Fallout 76? Let us know in the comments below!