Fallout 76 in itself is a weird experiment that fails as a service game. It's getting better, though, but nothing's ever sure with live games and publishers/devs often go back on their promises. Bethesda is doing just that with Fallout 76 by introducing non-cosmetic microtransactions that have an actual tangible affect on the game.
In a bid to earn more revenues from its online-only Fallout service game, Bethesda plans to sell shortcuts in Fallout 76's Atomic Shop. Gamers can buy these kits with Atoms, a currency that's purchased for real money or earned in-game. The kits are pretty advantageous and instantly repair any item's condition and allow gamers to avoid the tedium of collecting materials. Bethesda is kind of selling us stress-savers directly. And the non-cosmetic microtransactions may just be beginning.
Here's what Bethesda said in a recent blog post announcement:
"We read tons of feedback and suggestions from the Fallout 76 community, and Repair Kits were a popular request that we wanted to get into players' hands. We also felt we could try out something new with these, both in-game and in the Atomic Shop. As we look to the future, we're exploring ways we can bring other community-driven ideas to the game as well, such as refrigerators for C.A.M.P.s, ammo and food converters, and even the ability to send scrap to your stash without having to head home.
"Repair Kits are our first attempt at a utility item like this, and we plan to make adjustments based on your feedback, so we hope you'll share your thoughts with us when they go live later this month."
This move goes back in Bethesda's affirmation that cosmetics will only be monetized. Yes, repair kits are optional, and yes, they can be purchased with currency you technically earn in-game, but this is a pretty bad idea for the studio. Fallout 76 is already a PR nightmare that haunts Bethesda as the company tries to push forward with its plans to fold all of its biggest franchises into live titles (Wolfenstein: Youngblood is a recent example, and Doom: Eternal could have the same fate).
So why would they do it and risk angering an already annoyed playerbase?
Simple: they're testing new money-making avenues. Like all service games, Fallout 76 was specifically built to engage and make money from gamers over time. The thought was the more you play, the more you'll want to pay for shortcuts because the game is so artificially elongated and frustratingly tedious.
It's possible Fallout 76's cosmetics just aren't monetizing very well. This is to be expected because the game isn't properly fun or engaging yet--the updates are helping and the game may get there eventually--but as we said before, over-monetization will absolutely kill the game.
I don't think this will go over very well especially if gamers are expected to either pay time or money for mechanics that simply could be re-tooled with a patch. But the whole name of service games is making money by making things as tedious and time-consuming as possible, and then carving up time-savers to sell individually.