Fallout Shelter may be free-to-play, and Bethesda do make it clear that the game can be played without spending any money, but that doesn’t stop it from making $5.1 million in just two weeks.
This is telling of the free-to-play model, but it also shows a lot about the popularity of mobile gaming too, with the ability to not only target the gamers looking forward to Fallout 4, but also tap into the powerful casual gamer market the money is there if the game is designed right.
While Fallout Shelter is free and as Bethesda claim no money needs to be put into it at all, the incentive is there still to put real-life money into the purchase of lunchboxes. These lunchboxes when opened give the player bottlecaps to use, high-end weapons, armour, and unique dwellers.
This is obviously where the $5.1 million has been made, and while we could take a cynical view of this, really there isn’t anything negative at all to what Bethesda has managed to do.
The fact is free-to-play works best when the player can put their money in, but have a choice. If they do not want to pay then they won’t suffer as a result, but if they choose to then it brings more enjoyment. Too many games don’t find the balance right for this, or aren’t even designed with this in mind.
Fallout Shelter arguably has been a success because it doesn’t make the player feel like they have to put the money in, they have the choice. When the game also comes out for Android devices I’m sure more money will make its way to Bethesda, while the players are also left happy in their investment.
What are your thoughts on Bethesda’s profits from Fallout Shelter? Have you paid into the game? Let us know your thoughts below.