Bethesda might be re-mastering Fallout 3 for modern consoles which could mean a direct avenue towards its optional monetized mods marketplace.
On the heels of Skyrim: Special Edition's release, I saw a new business model for Bethesda: re-releasing older BGS games and adding console mods and a gateway to its Creation Club storefront. This model would essentially attempt to combine microtransaction monetization via piecemeal purchases in an attempt to pull in recurring revenues while also expanding the life of the game itself. It's likely that today's Fallout tease will fold into this plan as well.
The new Fallout tease is probably Fallout 3 remastered. This year marks the 10th anniversary of Fallout 3, and what better way to celebrate the game than with a full-on remaster with enhanced graphics, boosted frame rates and effects, and full console mod support? Sure Fallout 3 is older but there are still some great mods on the platform and Bethesda likely hopes for a resurgence in both interest and engagement (singleplayer engagement, that is, via mods) and some purchases made on its Creation Club platform.
Although Bethesda's Creation Club is massively contested among players and fans, it offers a unique opportunity for mod-makers to make money from their creations while also potentially expanding the game itself. Mod creators submit their content to Bethesda, and if approved, the content gets sold on the Creation Club marketplace for a set price. Creators get a portion of the earnings whereas Bethesda keeps the rest.
Despite its wide potential for big story-driven mods sold as slices of premium DLC, the marketplace typically sells paltry assets like weapons and armor--the kind of things you get for free off of Nexus Mods or even the in-game mods browser. It's been a source of disappointment for gamers (to say the least) and has yet to hit its stride.
There's been reports that Creation Club mods clash with free mods, and game updates have conflicted with modding tools like FOSE to boot. Ever since Creation Club arrived I stopped even trying to fiddle with my modded Fallout 4 save because of these conflicts.
Will Fallout 3 anniversary help give it a boost? Only if three things occur: the conflicts get ironed out, the content is there, the price is right. But ultimately I feel Creation Club was made for console users and not PC gamers, the latter of which have access to a smorgasbord of free mods.
So if it's a disaster and everyone hates it, why would Bethesda do it? It's really simple: the company is trying to monetize its singleplayer games with user-created content. Mods have proven massively advantageous to Bethesda games by extending the lifespan while also potentially boosting sales to boot. In a way the studio is trying to adapt the current live services business model into its singleplayer-only games...but things are going clumsily.
On the other hand we'll likely see free console mods supported as well. Bethesda seems to want to tie its games to a core framework that combines both mods and the Creation Club store, so I'm thinking that every major new game from Bethesda Game Studios will be incorporated in some form (especially remasters).
It's even possible RAGE 2 could have some sort of Creation Club monetization or mod-driven content curation, too.