If you’ve been anywhere near the internet in the past few days, you’re likely to have seen the backlash to Fallout 76 “bag-gate”, or as I like to call it, “the kerduffel”. After players complained Bethesda had replaced a canvas bag with a cheap nylon version in the 179.99 Power Armour Edition of the game, the company tried to smooth things over by offering customers 500 Atoms of in-game currency, worth about 3.99. It was a gesture that obviously did not go down well.
Now, it seems Bethesda has finally decided to make good on its advertising, as the company is currently manufacturing replacement canvas bags.
We are finalizing manufacturing plans for replacement canvas bags for the Fallout 76: Power Armor Edition. If you purchased the CE, please visit https://t.co/S5ClEZuQrx and submit a ticket by Jan. 31, 2019. We’ll arrange to send you a replacement as soon as the bags are ready.
— Bethesda Support (@BethesdaSupport) December 3, 2018
The tweet states affected customers need to submit a ticket to Bethesda’s support site by January 31st. There’s no set date or time-frame given for the delivery of the bags, but the company has promised they will be shipped “as soon as [they] are ready”.
Aside from PR damage control, it seems likely Bethesda made this decision to avoid any legal challenges for false advertising. Customers in the UK, certainly, had already started making complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority – although the ASA redirected them to a private American organisation called the Better Business Bureau. Others claimed to have made official complaints to the Federal Trade Commission, which is the government body that enforces trade laws in the US. Whether anything would have come of these remains debatable – but maybe Bethesda simply didn’t want to take the risk.
By finally delivering on its promise of canvas bags, it seems likely online criticism of Bethesda surrounding bag-gate will finally calm down. Whether this will be forgotten, however, is another story. In total, the episode saw Bethesda issue curt customer service responses, retrospectively change the advertising on its website, claim the reason for the swap was due to the price of canvas, and initially apologise with a meagre amount of in-game currency (along with laying the blame for those customer service responses on a temporary contract worker).
Separate to the events of the great kerduffel of 2018, Bethesda has also come under fire for its confusing Fallout 76 PC version refund policy. Although some players reported they’d received refunds, others were less successful, and a legal firm now claims to be investigating the situation. Again, it seems unlikely any legal action will take place, but it’s certainly not a great look for Bethesda in what has been a disastrous game launch.