If further evidence is needed to prove the commercial and critical failure of Fallout 76 – and it really isn’t – then look no further than GameStop Germany’s decision to give out copies of the game to purchasers of used PS4 controllers. Yes, ouch. Though GameStop is internationally notorious for its reliance on used product sales and trade-ins, this is not a common deal even by its standards, and it’s a telling sign that the German store is doing its best to empty its unprofitable stock of Fallout 76 copies as quickly as it can.
Fallout 76 has been a golden goose for those seeking video game controversy since its disappointing launch in November 2018. Fallout developer Bethesda shot itself in the foot along every step of the way, having duped its highest-paying customers with collectible bags made of cheap nylon instead of promised canvas, asking players to pay absurd prices for low-quality items and skins in the full-price game’s Atom Shop, and doing generally everything possible to earn its place in gaming history as 2018’s biggest disappointment. Bethesda seems to be doing little to stop that dishonor from bleeding into 2019, with its most recent update infuriating Fallout 76‘s remaining players by reintroducing bugs from an older build of the game.
Taking these misadventures into account, it’s hard to blame GameStop Germany for going to extreme lengths to offload copies of Fallout 76 onto customers buying secondhand accessories. A Reddit post by user cenorexia brought the deal to light, itself a screenshot from the Snapchat of a bemused German GameStop patron. To paraphrase, the promo advertises that Fallout 76 comes free with every used PS4 controller purchase while supplies last. For PS4 players in need of an extra DualShock 4 and still interested in picking up Fallout 76, this is actually a great deal considering GameStop US lists new copies of the game and used PS4 controllers at $40 each.
While it’s worth noting that there’s quite a lot of fine print that could add extra stipulations to the deal, which are illegible due to the low quality of the image of the promo, it’s not so far-fetched considering the easy-to-believe rumors of the game’s poor sales and the vulnerable position in which GameStop has recently found itself. Amid worsening economic hardship, the games retailer publicly tried and failed to find an interested party willing to purchase the company. GameStop has long held a reputation for its over-dependence on the used games market it helped to create and has been fighting an increasingly uphill battle to compete with online competition, so a desperate bid to rid itself of poorly selling German copies of a flop like Fallout 76 isn’t entirely surprising.
Since its release, Fallout 76 has almost entirely failed to produce a single piece of positive press, and it’s seeming unlikely that Bethesda will reverse its luck regarding the game in 2019. Though the live-service dumpster fire will in all likelihood continue to burn as long as it’s supported, Bethesda fans can hope that the upcoming Rage 2 will salvage the developer’s hard-hit reputation come May 2019. Until then, they can confidently expect further letdowns as Fallout 76 continues to do what it has consistently proven it does best.