Bethesda’s free-to-play Vault Sim, Fallout Shelter, has just passed over 100 million downloads across all platforms.
Part of the ever popular Fallout franchise, the game gives the player control over a Vault, a nuclear bunker built deep into the Earth in order to save as many people as possible from atomic annihilation. The player has to expand and maintain their Vault through constructing more rooms and ensuring the dwellers needs are all met. It’s a simple formula, tried and tested many times before.
Why has Fallout Shelter been so popular as to meet this monumental milestone? A lot of it comes down to branding and presentation. Bethesda have been milking the Fallout brand for all its worth since its acquisition in 2004, having released in house additions to the franchise as well giving Obsidian the chance to make their own game. The Fallout universe is ideal to make one of these base construction sim games, as the Vault concept lends itself perfectly to it. Additionally, the 1950s style animations from the series makes the game look polished and lets it function on a wide range of platforms. The game is now available on iOS, Android, Windows devices and consoles, so if you have something with a web connection, you can probably download Fallout Shelter with it.
Like many free-to-play games, the profitability of Fallout Shelter comes in the form of in-game micro-transactions. While you can choose not to spend a dime on the game, some of the build and research times can stretch days of real time. Rather than wait, you can choose to rush this process through spending in-game currency, and one way to gain a lot of this fake money is through your real money.
Why anyone would waste their hard earned cash on a fake in-game currency rather than on alcohol and narcotics is beyond a decrepit degenerate like me, but clearly enough people disagree to make the concept so viable. With 100 million downloads, if only 1 in 100 people pay for in-game currency that is still a huge profit for Bethesda.
If you are interested in playing Fallout Shelter, you can find it on your device’s app store, Steam or on the Xbox Live Marketplace. If you own a PlayStation, then you can… err… watch trailers and just imagine how much fun it is.