Fallout 76 refund policy could land Bethesda in hot water

Fallout 76

Fallout 76 has had a... rocky launch, to say the least.

Bethesda's spin-off entry takes the bestselling Fallout franchise into the world of online cooperative multiplayer. Whether or not you think it was a worthwhile venture may be up to you, though limp sales and pretty immediate price-drops suggest Bethesda's online gamble isn't paying off.

To add salt to the wound, there are a growing number of players seeking refunds for the game's consistent glitches and bugs.

Launch day patches are becoming the norm with AAA releases, though Fallout 76's 47GB download file is a huge amount of data to thrust on players' hard drives, and certainly didn't fix all the issues players are having: controls being disabled, enemies glitching out of view, or being dropped from the server entirely.

According to GameSpot (opens in new tab), US law firm Migliaccio & Rathod is in the early days of preparing to take legal action against Bethesda, on behalf of players who haven't received a refund as requested for what the firm calls an "unplayable experience".

While it's relatively easy to refund games on Steam, Fallout 76 (PC version) was released through the Bethesda.net website, whose official refund policy seems to exclude everything but unopened games. Some players seem to be getting their cash back after contacting the publisher (see this thread on Reddit (opens in new tab)), but there are enough who aren't for a legal case to be possible.

Fallout 76

Radioactive bugs

Single-player Fallout games are infamous for their recognizable bugs and glitches, usually seeing Wasteland enemies warping in and out of view, or NPCs hovering in mid-air above the furniture. 

Online play, however, can be a lot more demanding for a game engine – and cause more problems for players. Online play requires low latency and seamless synchronisation between different consoles; if anyone is bugging out mid-battle it sortof ruins the fun for everyone.

Of course, these things often turn around: the likes of No Man's Sky and Bethesda's Elder Scrolls Online were maligned at launch, but managed to hold onto a player base through regular updates and fixes to improve the experience on offer. 

Via GameSpot (opens in new tab)

Henry St Leger

Henry is a freelance technology journalist. Before going freelance, he spent more than three years at TechRadar reporting on TVs, projectors and smart speakers as the website's Home Cinema Editor – and has been interviewed live on both BBC World News and Channel News Asia, discussing the future of transport and 4K resolution televisions respectively. As a graduate of English Literature and persistent theatre enthusiast, he'll usually be found forcing Shakespeare puns into his technology articles, which he thinks is what the Bard would have wanted. Bylines also include Edge, T3, and Little White Lies.