UPDATE: Bethesda recently tweeted denying the f2p model for Fallout 76, which could mean it will not be happening soon, but it’s more than likely happening at a later date unless the player count starts increasing, we will see, only time will tell.
There is no truth to this rumor.
— Bethesda (@bethesda) January 22, 2019
It’ll come as no surprise that Fallout 76 has not performed very well. The PS4 version sits at a lowly 53 on reviews aggregate site Metacritic. The Xbox One version is even lower. The game has sold around two million units across all three platforms so far and at launch physical sales were 80% lower than its predecessor Fallout 4. This did not bode well and the title saw heavy discounts within the release month. Even now the price is way under half of the RRP at most major retailers and pre-owned copies are a very common sight. Bethesda has a precedent for this: Elder Scrolls Online. This title saw a disastrous launch but has since gone free to play and blossomed into an interesting and vast experience that millions adore.
Segment Next is now reporting that Fallout 76 is close to embracing the free to play model. They’ve revealed that EB Games, a huge video game retailer in Australia has begun pulling brand new copies of the game from their shelves due to a distributor recall. This hasn’t been repeated in any other regions yet. There is plenty of evidence for Fallout 76 turning free to play and this could be Bethesda’s best option to salvage the amount of development and money sunk into the title. The game had a huge advertisement campaign and was very strongly pushed by the mega publisher.
Personally, I think Fallout 76 would be much better off going free to play. It would excuse a lot of the game’s issues and introduce a wider audience to what could potentially be a fun title. I spent some time with Elder Scrolls Online this year and I genuinely loved it, there’s every chance this could be the second chance that Fallout 76 needs.