US law firm Migliaccio & Rathod is collecting evidence against Bethesda regarding its refund policy for Fallout 76.
Initially players unhappy with the technical issues or unable to play the game were able to claim refunds from developer/publisher Bethesda, but Reddit users now report the company has now clamped down on refund requests. Some players now believe Bethesda's decision not to bring Fallout 76 to Steam this was to avoid "review bombing" and Steam refunds.
In a blog post entitled "Deceptive Trade Practice" (thanks, GamesIndustry.biz), the Washington-based Migliaccio & Rathod LLP is inviting PC players who are unhappy with Fallout 76's technical issues have been refused refunds to report their experiences.
"Migliaccio & Rathod LLP currently investigating Bethesda Game Studios for releasing a heavily-glitched game, Fallout 76, and refusing to issue refunds for PC purchasers of the game who found it to be unplayable because of its technical problems," the statement says. "While minor bugs and glitches are expected with the release of most new games, Fallout 76 launched with a 56GB patch that has proven to be but a starting point for the game’s problems. Gamers who have tried to receive a refund because of the game’s myriad glitches have been unable to do so since they downloaded the game, leaving them to deal with an unplayable experience until patches bring it back to a playable state."
Right now there's no class-action lawsuit pending, and there is no evidence that Migliaccio & Rathod will proceed with litigation.
Players are also unhappy that the $200 Power Armor Edition of Fallout 76 - which promised a military-style canvas bag - offered a nylon substitute, without notice, instead. Bethesda has responded to these complaints by offering players $5 worth of in-game currency, a gesture most fans responding to Bethesda's twitter account seem to deem derisory.
"We understand and respect that there is disappointment with the bag in the Power Armor Edition. We are sorry," said a statement via Twitter.
This isn't the first time unhappy gamers have united to take action against a developer. In 2012, Vita owners won a class-action suit against Sony for "deceptive advertising" of its handheld device, and were offered cash, PlayStation Store credit, or free games as part of the settlement. And in 2014, even shareholders took issue with Battlefield 4's poor launch and online performance, but the judge only partially agreed, acknowledging that the statements made by EA CEO Andrew Wilson and CFO Blake Jorgensen were "[vague statements] of corporate optimism" and "puffery,” and "not materially false and misleading".