Fallout 76 Is Not Going Free To Play

Fallout 76 Is Not Going Free To Play

Between glitched nukes, cheaters and underwhelming reviews, it’s safe to say that Fallout 76 has had a rough start.

Rumours recently started circulating that Fallout 76 was about to go free to play. It’s not.

Fallout 76, One Month Later

It feels like Bethesda’s post-apocalyptic shooter has already been out for a while, especially since its early access-style beta began all the way back in October, but Fallout 76 officially launched just one month ago. And what a long month it’s been, filled with release-build bugs, post-launch updates, and a big controversy about a bag. Here’s a refresher on everything that’s happened so far.

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Fallout 76 has been far from an overwhelming success, with the online multiplayer game hitting constant issues. Over the last few days, rumours that it had been pulled from shelves at EB Games store lead to speculation that Fallout 76 was going to transition to free to play.

Bethesday flat out denied those rumours.

Part of the fuel for the rumours was Fallout 76’s inclusion in a pre-owned buy one get one free sale at EB Games. Overwatch and Destiny 2 are also a part of that sale. Sometimes games go on sale.

That’s it. Fallout 76 is not going free to play.


  • I remember BioWare and EA saying the same thing about The Old Republic and similar articles outright stating it would not go free to play.

    • I played SWTOR from launch through a year or so after the F2P change and I don’t remember them ever saying it wouldn’t be F2P. Rather the opposite, there were some interviews saying they’d designed the game with a flexible model from the start and EAls Frank Gibeau said “absolutely we’re going to embrace free access” back in May 2012, half a year before they implemented it.

  • There are some games that defied the cries of “this game will go free to play in a month!” such as Final Fantasy XIV. I remember loads of people predicted it would go free to play but they managed to turn it around by basically reinventing the game.

    I can’t see that happening with Fallout 76 though. It’s been one bad move after another with this game.

    • Have yet to be on a server that wasn’t 90%+ full. There’s plenty of people playing, you’re welcome to come join in.

      • I was making a tongue in cheek comment. No interest in playing. Still yet to play FO3, NV and 4!!! I do like concept of playing as a group though, like in Destiny. Shame it didn’t work out as planned, but in time the game may not be what it is today a la No Mans Sky and The Division.
        Fingers crossed for you, it does not do an “Evolve” down the track.

        • No worries. Definitely give those three a try first, they’re great games (although I thought F3 was the weakest personally). If you ever do circle back to F76 give me a ping, I’ll show you around.

  • The rumour on it going free to play was based around various games stores (Gamestop, EB Games, etc) packing up all their normal copies and sending them back. A YouTuber speculated that this usually happens when a game is going Free To Play, and more mainstream sites picked up on the speculation and ran with it.


    While its been confirmed by numerous sources that copies were boxed up and returned, its more likely that its simply a buyback of dead stock. But the rumour mill had taken hold, and people wanted to believe it going free over the much simpler buyback option.

    I think it’ll go free to play eventually, but it aint now. It’ll be some quiet point midyear, when everyone’s forgotten about the game, and they’ve had time to (hopefully) fix the big problems.

    Or not. I thought Metal Gear Survive would have done the same for similar reasons, but it hasn’t.

    • I think your spot on this is either a stock return exercise since retailers are being punished for overstocking merch and games on Bethesdas promised sales and their failure to deliver… so its either a buy back or the stores are cutting loses and shifting stock back to warehouse to be written off.

      My EB games still had 3 collectors editions, discounted, thr day before Xmas they couldnt even sell.

      JB Hifi was offering $20 for F76 with any selected purchases, it was getting pretty sour behind the scenes… you couldnt even sell F76 Pop! Figures, you know your franchise is dead if you cant sell Pop!

    • It’s worth also mentioning, publisher returns happen all the time in brick and mortar retail. It makes more financial sense for the retailer to overestimate demand and return stock for partial refund than underestimate demand and end up not being able to sell to a customer who asks for it. With the general trend away from physical retail and towards online purchases, these returns are happening even more often.

      • It would be a buyback by the distributor, so the retailer gets the full price they paid back. If they sell it cheap, they lose money. Not what business is about.

        As others have said, a buyback isn’t anything new. EB Games are effectively consumers as well, so when a game doesn’t deliver as promised there are laws there that protect them.

        • Wow, I didn’t realise it worked like that. I thought EB were taking all the risk with their stock.

          kinda like sending books back then, except they aren’t ripping the front covers off of FO76. Will those copies eventually be resold, at a lower price?

          • Who knows. Sometimes they (infamously) end up in landfill, other times just get destroyed.

            I read some stats once showing that to get a copy of a game ready to be distributed cost around $12. That doesnt include the development costs in the studio, just what it cost to get from the master copy to what we see on the shelf. Then theres the cost of shipping them around, which isnt cheap.

            I cant see much incentive to hold on to them to try and resell, the cost to do so wouldnt be worth it.

            As a side issue, one of the tricks the industry uses to inflate sales is to talk about how many copies they ‘moved’. What they’re talking about is how many copies the retailers bought of them, not how many those retailers onsold to the public.

            So you might see reports that Bethesda moved a couple of million copies of FO76 (thats a guess), which would simply be how many they got stores to buy, notably the chains like EB and JB. They wont change those reports to reflect buybacks like this though.

            Having that as a tactic is one of the other reasons the studios would have buyback clauses with the retailers, just to cover their butts. Otherwise the retailers wouldnt take the risk. But using ‘moved’ volumes is an old trick.

  • For it to go Free2play… Bethesfa has to admit fault. They won’t do that!

    They will also have to invest money on a conversion, extra load and a more robust microtransaction system… which may be throwing good money after bad.

    Zenimax is more likely to shut it down.

  • Totally agree with Grunt on this.

    Regarding the Australian stores returning stock, I wondered if it was because of our more stringent consumer protection laws creating a risk of holding stock that may have more potential to be returned than comparable products.

    • That… and they were already bargain bin priced and still not selling.

      Why risk selling the game for 66% off when there is high rate of return… its not worth the labour costs to sell.

  • I can’t see it going free to play because a while because their servers simply couldn’t cope with all the extra players. Maybe cheaper, but not free.

    Getting lots of server disconnection errors in the last couple of days, the game is taking longer and longer to load, making it free to play would make it unplayable and they’d have to refund everyone who bought it.

    For what it’s worth I’m really enjoying the game, it’s more buggy and grindy than the others but I got it for $29 from Amazon so for that price it’s fine.

    • I haven’t noticed any slowdowns or disconnects myself, I wonder if it’s a location issue (ie. which datacentre you’re being mapped to)? Or could be the platform too, maybe they have different server software for each platform.

      There have been reports that the people lugging around a million cheated-in items can cause instability if you’re near them too, so it could be that as well. They seem to have resolved most of the dupe bugs, but they’re still working on removing the dupes, which is a bit harder since they might be in possession of someone who got it from a trade and had no idea it had been duped.

      • Playing on xbox, it’ll load me in then back to the loading images then usually can play 2nd time lucky! Disconnects have happened once every hour or two. Also can’t open pip boy for a minute once start otherwise it freezes up!

        • Dang, that sucks. I think the consoles have gotten a bit more bad luck with issues than PC, hopefully they work out the kinks.

          • Yeah I’ve considered getting an ssd as I’m wondering if some of the issues are due to loading speed of a hdd but I’ve never had issues with other games, online or offline, so think its just this game. Apparently duping can slow everyone’s game down, maybe dupers are more prevalent on consoles?

  • Sep 30, 2016: “I was just told about a reckless story about Battleborn going F2P that is false. There are no plans to convert Battleborn free to play.”
    Jun 6, 2017: Battleborn goes free to play

    Jan 23, 2019: “There is no truth to this rumor.”
    THE FUTURE: ???

  • It can’t go free to play because their cosmetics are low value cashgrabs that no sane person would spend money on.

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