Bethesda Games Studios’ recent release of the Beta version of the much-anticipated game Fallout 76 has come with a major problem. Players of the Beta encountered a bug that automatically deletes the entire 50GB game.
What is Beta Gaming?
When a video game company releases a game in its Beta version, it is releasing an almost finished but still slightly incomplete version of the game. Beta gaming means that players can preview what the gaming experience will be like and report any bugs or glitches they encounter. Normally, the Beta game is free to download but can only accessed during certain time slots, incentivising fans to purchase the full game upon its release.
The Fallout 76 Beta Crash
When Bethesda Studios released the beta of Fallout 76, they decided to use their own launcher instead of going through Steam. This meant that many players originally encountered glitches in trying to download the game, and ultimately resulted in a bug that deleted the entire file after downloading. In a now deleted tweet, Bethesda told players to “not click any buttons on the client for now,” as clicking on the game caused the whole 50GB game to be re-downloaded. With an average wifi speed in the UK at around 16Mps according to a recent study by Cable, it would take around 2 hours to download the beta again. Slower signals meant players were waiting upwards of 15 hours to get back on the game.
The lengthy download meant a lot of people missed the time slot in which the beta was available, so in response to the bug Bethesda announced that they would be extending another time slot so that players could still get the same amount of time on the game. They tweeted:
We know some users have been forced to redownload the #Fallout76 B.E.T.A. and not everyone will be able to enjoy the game tonight. To make good, we’ll be extending the B.E.T.A. for everyone on Thursday, November 1, 2pm to 11pm ET.
Thanks for your patience. #ExtendtheBeta
— Bethesda Game Studios (@BethesdaStudios) October 31, 2018
Why is this Significant?
Ordinarily crashes and bugs are expected in beta games, as it’s an incomplete version of the full game. As betas are nearly always free, large glitches don’t normally cause much outrage – there is the standard that you get what you pay for. However, the crashes in Fallout 76 beta have caused a particularly robust outcry from fans of the game, because in order to access the beta version players had to pre-order the full game. With pre-ordering costing £79.99, many players felt they should get more value in the beta game as they were essentially paying to access it. Bethesda’s decision to make the beta only accessible to fans who have pre-ordered the game is purely monetary, as pre-ordering the game is notoriously more expensive than simply buying it on its release. The extra incentive that the beta gives pre-ordering signifies a recent trend in the gaming industry: companies intrinsically prioritise financial gain over the integrity of the product they sell. Bethesda is the latest in a chain of gaming studios which have fallen victim to similar scandals (in which the price of content is not justified by its quality), with games such as Counter-Strike even being linked to issues of adolescent gambling due to their continuous focus on spending money in-game.
Fallout 76 was released this week, and hopefully the bug has been resolved after being flagged in the beta stage. Its predecessor Fallout 4 sold 1.2 million copies in its first 24 hours, and Fallout 76 is predicted to be Bethesda’s highest grossing game to date. That is, if the file doesn’t continue to repeatedly delete itself.
Image: IRN Post