Bethesda is adding another gameplay-affecting microtransaction to Fallout 76 as part of its latest Atomic Shop update. The update has added Scrap Kits as a Utility Item, which will allow players to consume a Scrap Kit to scrap junk items in their inventory and deliver it immediately to their Stash. A single Scrap Kit will cost players 50 Atoms, or approximately .50 cents, but can be bought in stacks of six and 15 for 10% and 50% off respectively.
Fallout 76 introduced gameplay-altering microtransactions in April with the addition of Repair Kits. A Repair Kit would, as the name implies, repair the condition of any single item to 100% condition and would consume the Repair Kit. Repair Kits could be purchased with real money in a similar fashion to how Scrap Kits are purchased.
The introduction of Repair Kits resulted in controversy after Fallout 76 players grew frustrated with Bethesda both breaking a promise and influencing gameplay through monetization. The promise came from Bethesda community guru Pete Hines, who'd said explicitly that the "Atomic shop is cosmetic stuff." He even went further, acknowledging that there's a line crossed when adding gameplay microtransactions, "but we're going to stay on the right side of the line."
Regarding the nature of gameplay microtransactions being negative in general, the argument is that these items are only necessary in the first place because Bethesda made them into problems. In Fallout 76, having to repair items or scrapping junk from inventory are frustrating by design. It's part of the game's design that players are inconvenienced this way, taking time out of more enjoyable gameplay to repair and scrap. These types of systems are accepted because all players have to deal with them. Selling an item to circumvent inconvenience-by-design exploits players by making them feel like they're forced to purchase these items, either to have the best experience or to feel on-part with other players.
Gameplay-affecting microtransactions have been controversial for over a decade now. Many publishers and developers have byenow, as Pete Hines said, acknowledged that there is a line between having cosmetic microtransactions and gameplay transactions. It's not uncommon that games choose to cross that line, but it's certainly rare to acknowledge that line and then cross it anyway.
Nevertheless, both Repair Kits and Scrap Kits are now available in Fallout 76 and there's no indication that Bethesda won't continue to add gameplay-affecting microtransactions going forward.
Fallout 76 is available now on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.