Fallout 76 will sell extremely well and totally galvanise Zenimax’ business model – have no doubts about this.
THIS is not really a problem, in isolation. The problem is the fact that the pinnacle of gaming is still considered (by many) to be AAA gaming and AAA gaming will tend towards this business model because that makes the most money. In film, I think a lot of people accept the possibility that Hollywood does not represent the apex of file making. Gaming still needs a lot more maturity, as a medium, to reach this point.
Some of us have known (for years) that AAA gaming is basically doomed and we now seek our entertainment from smaller sources. I hesitate to say “indie” sources because that term is now so overloaded as to be meaningless. There must be hundreds of posts on these forums, alone, on this movement.
Gaming will split. Sooner or later.
In film, there is a clear divide between Hollywood and “art movies”. In gaming, there will be the mainstream, AAA rubbish and another entire niche for games made for players, not for profit. In the former, FO76 and all the other MMO-lite games (along with MOBAs, seasonal war-shooters, “pack”-based TCGs (which, if Artefact is any indication, will cease to allow Trading and just become digital card-games) and all the rest of the manipulative business models). In the latter, you will find games (“indie” or not) that do not facilitate such business models. The latter will allow player-run servers, modding and cheat-codes – my three pillars of old-school gaming.
As I have said, before, all of those three can only exist when micro-transactions and pay-to-win do not dictate the game design, progression pacing and balance. In fact, they MUST exist to dictate that the gameplay is based on fun and not on profit.
Sadly, just like in film, the latter group of games will always lag in profits. We can help by buying good titles. (Everyone, go buy Factorio immediately if you have not, yet!)
The challenge will be convincing new and upcoming talent that they should forgo the glamour and money of Hollywood gaming and spend their creativity building something fun.