The Outer Worlds puts the ridiculous Fallout 76 subscription to shame

The Outer Worlds launches this week, and as discussed at length in my review, I loved it. Developed by Obsidian, it’s a clear spiritual successor to Fallout: New Vegas, though also removes a bunch of the flaws that typically litter Fallout games. With it being an impressively polished and satisfying experience, it’s a stark contrast to the launch of Bethesda’s own Fallout 76, which even a year after its launch has now found itself embroiled in another controversy. This is due to Bethesda, for reasons that defy all logic, deciding to announce a $99 yearly subscription service for Fallout 76, in the same week that the best-Fallout-game-that-isn’t-technically-Fallout has launched.

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Yes, out of all the weeks in the entire calendar year, Bethesda has decided to use The Outer Worlds‘ launch week to announce ‘Fallout 1st,’ which it describes as “a premium membership that offers something players have been asking for since before launch: private worlds for you and select friends.” It costs $12.99 per month or $99 per year. For that price, you get the following, as described by Bethesda:

What you get in the Fallout 76 subscription, Fallout 1st

  • Private Worlds: Play in a private world exclusively for you and up to seven friends
  • Scrapbox: Unlimited storage for crafting components in your new Scrapbox container
  • Survival Tent: A new placeable fast travel point with a Stash, Sleeping Bag, and more for your basic needs
  • Atoms: Receive 1,650 Atoms per month to use in the Atomic Shop
  • Ranger Armor Outfit: An iconic Fallout outfit, exclusively for members
  • Icons and Emotes Pack: Unique icons and emotes, available only to members

By comparison, for $14.99 per month, you can get a subscription to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which grants you unlimited access to a slew of critically-acclaimed games on both the PC and Xbox One. For that same price, you can also get a subscription to Origin Access Premier, which (again) gives you a whole bunch of great games to play across PC and consoles. Or you cou—ld use just over half of that yearly subscription fee and buy The Outer Worlds for $60, a game that is miles better than Fallout 76 and literally launches in the same week my god why have they made this announcement today.

For context, here is what The Outer Worlds offers for $60, as opposed to that $99 Fallout 76 subscription:

What you get in The Outer Worlds

  • A whole-ass game
  • A whole-ass game that’s also the single-player RPG that everyone wanted when Bethesda announced Fallout 76
  • Zero debilitating bugs or technical flaws
  • An RPG with NPCs you can talk to
  • No in-game stores asking you to funnel microtransactions into them
  • Just a great space adventure that isn’t a rushed attempt at a live service game attempting to capitalize on a popular franchise

fallout 76 the outer worlds

So just how did Bethesda land on a $13 monthly price point for a premium version of Fallout 76? Well, the short answer is that private servers were one of the most highly-requested features from those still playing the game. As a result, Bethesda has offered a semblance of that private server experience by way of enabling private sessions, and has slapped a price tag on the privilege to access those sessions in order to rake some cash back from the hardcore player base who continued to stick by the game. But that’s not the only kicker: unlike paying for a private server, which would give anyone you wanted access to it, Fallout 76‘s private worlds require a Fallout 1st member to be present at all times. If they aren’t, the private world will shut down.

This means that if your friend becomes a Fallout 1st member and you’re using their private world, but they need to hop offline to go grab some food, you’ll be kicked right out unless you also cough up $13 per month. So if you and a group of four friends want to start a private world together, but you don’t want to have to constantly coordinate each other’s schedules to play, you’ll be forking out $52 per month as a group to ensure you can access that world at any time.

Now, this announcement wouldn’t have gone down well at any point in the year. It’s arguable that even if Fallout 76 were a popular game that received rave reviews and had maintained a wide fanbase, this news would’ve been met with several thousand raised eyebrows. But that there are 52 weeks in a year and The Outer Worlds‘ launch is the one they choose to drop this bombshell? This is essentially Bethesda formally requesting a PR nightmare.

In continuing to damage the Fallout name, Bethesda has unwittingly transformed The Outer Worlds into a protest purchase. With Obsidian creating a game in the style of Fallout but with none of the messiness that now encircles the series, The Outer Worlds taking off and being a sales success would be as surefire a sign as any that this is the kind of game we want, not a live service with paid-for private sessions. Hopefully, The Outer Worlds can rub off on Fallout and help get the series back on track.

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