It’s been five years since the gaming world was blessed with the last entry to the Fallout series, Fallout: New Vegas, and with the already enormous hype surrounding Fallout 4, the time is right for speculating its potential success and projected sales figures.
The Fallout 4 Hype Train
Presentations at various conferences and conventions, such as E3 and GamesCom, have been met with responses ranging from roaring applause to standing ovations. A famous photo from this year’s Quakecon event showed an entire conference hall filled wall to wall with fans wearing masks styled after Fallout’s mascot character Pip-Boy. It did not take long for the critics to meet the enthusiasm of the fans, as Fallout 4 left E3 with the coveted “Best of Show” title for 2015.
With a 1,175% rise in sales of Fallout 3 Game of the Year edition after Fallout 4 first official announcement at E3 2015, it’s clear that people who have never played any of the games before are scrambling to get their copies of Fallout: 3 and New Vegas in order to familiarize themselves with the series and to ease their transition into Fallout 4.
Fans on the Internet Flip Over Fallout 4
Even as Fallout 4 has enjoyed the cover story status on just about every gaming media outlet available, the online response managed to dwarf even that. Popular subreddits with hundreds of thousands of users have been on fire since the June 3rd reveal. Calling it a passionate buzz might be doing it a disservice, as it borders closer to joyful hysteria. One poster on the Fallout subreddit shared a story about requesting the week off to play the new Fallout game, where he learned that a number of his co-workers had already beat him to the punch.
Another fan of the series had saved up over 2 thousand bottle caps, which is the common currency in Fallout’s mythos, before sending the collection to Bethesda in hopes of earning himself a copy of the game. Bethesda was so impressed with the 11-pound package that they did grant the fan a pre-order copy of the game. The developer made sure to explain that he would be the only fan to receive that deal, but felt that the fan had earned it as the first person to attempt to purchase the game with caps.
Reddit and YouTube alike are filled to the brim with content that break down gameplay reveal videos, predicting various game systems or storyline beats, and that’s with good reason. Gameplay videos released through Bethesda’s official channels push over 5 million combined views. To further emphasize the anticipation, those numbers pale in comparison to the official trailer, which boasts over 21 million combined views on Bethesda’s YouTube channels.
Fallout 4’s Social Media Mania
On Twitter, the official Bethesda and Fallout accounts combine for well over a million followers, with both accounts making a full court press to push the Fallout frenzy even further as we approach the looming release date.
Fallout’s buzz, both through media and fans of the series, has been overwhelmingly effective. Within hours of Fallout’s addition to the Steam store, PC gaming’s leading online storefront, the title had cracked Steam’s Top Sellers list, which is a page that tracks the platform’s trending sales providing an accurate picture of a game’s momentum. Four months later, Fallout 4 pre-orders continue to stand firmly in the Top 3 slots of the Top Sellers list.
The Power of Hype
The power of hype should never be underestimated, especially when it’s built up over a long period of time. The Elder Scrolls series is also created by Bethesda. Like Fallout, it has immensely benefited from name recognition. The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion sold over 3 million copies and saw the release of a successful expansion in the form of The Shivering Isles. The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim saw a huge increase in sales, selling a whopping 20 million copies. The amount of time between the releases of Oblivion and Skyrim was very similar to that of Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas. With that in mind, Fallout 4 has a good chance of seeing a much larger degree of success than its already successful predecessor.
Skyrim was generally well received by the gaming community and massive communities of modders are still actively working on the game. Even though Skyrim simplified certain aspects of the Oblivion experience, players thoroughly enjoyed the game and had very few negative things to say. Although Skyrim had a lot of hype backing it in order to increase its popularity over the years, it couldn’t have been as successful as it was if the game itself wasn’t so well polished. Using that model, you can somewhat predict how well Fallout 4 sales will perform if you compare the features of the game to its previous installments.
Pre-orders and Beyond
On the physical release front, a sought after Collector’s Edition release called the Pip-Boy Edition burned through it’s limited stock, much to the chagrin of Fallout fans. Priced at $120, the Pip-Boy Edition is named after the popular wrist accessory from Fallout’s gameplay, a sort of consumer grade tablet from Fallout’s retro-futurist perspective.
The edition was sold with a physical replica of the Pip-Boy, which fits many popular smartphones, complete with an app to allow the buyer to explore the real world with their Pip-Boy attached to their actual wrist. The Pip-Boy Edition went back on sale in mid October for all of seven hours before once again, rapidly selling out of stock. Despite the Pip-Boy Edition’s lack of availability, fans that pre-order Fallout 4 through Bethesda’s website will receive a special edition t-shirt that is only available before Fallout 4’s official launch.
View from Journalists and Gaming Websites
Early estimates from Bethesda expect Fallout 4 to outsell their previous title, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. During interviews with various gaming websites, the company’s VP of PR was quoted as predicting Fallout 4 to potentially be the company’s largest release of all time. With the Pip-Boy Edition selling out at blazing fast speed, and the consistent pre-order sales on the various gaming platforms, that predict looks more realistic with each passing day.
William Usher, Content Manager from Oneangrygamer.net, compares the game to Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, to which Fallout 4 comes second in the Nielsen survey. “For Fallout 4, I would probably say that while the fan base is strong, it’s not quite Call of Duty strong, so the first few days may see anywhere between 3 – 5 million copies sold and maybe, at the top end of the sales, 10 million for its first month.”
When it comes to game comparisons, one should take note that Fallout 4 releases the same day as Rise of the Tomb Raider. According to Mason Gordon-Levitt, writer at Nerdbite.com, “I’m fairly confident that Fallout 4 will out-sell Rise of the Tomb Raider during their launch week. However, one must also bear in mind that Rise of the Tomb Raider is only launching on Xbox One and Xbox 360 on November 10, whereas Fallout 4 will be launching on Xbox One, PS4 and PC simultaneously, so that may contribute extensively to the sales as well. ” All in all, he thinks that Fallout 4 will easily topple its predecessors Fallout 3 and New Vegas, individually and combined.
If placed side by side with its previous installments, Alexx Aplin writer for Modvive.com gives us more numbers, “But Fallout 3 sold over 4 million units between its release and the end of the year, so I’m definitely going to say that the number for Fallout 4 will be between 5-6 million, though this largely depends on a number of factors like the amount of bugs the game has on release. I’d definitely say between 5 and 6 million though, as the sheer amount of content that Fallout 4 has announced already leads it to be a contender for Game of the Year. ”
How about if we try to compare it with other works also from Bethesda? The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim ultimately moved over 20 million copies, and Bethesda claims that they can outsell that with Fallout 4. According to the Editor-in-Chief at PSX Extreme, Ben Dutka, “As Fallout 3 shipped less than 5 million, the possibility of a new entry selling three times as much seems unlikely. But with enough support from critics and plenty of marketing, Fallout 4 should end up being wildly profitable, ultimately moving maybe 15 million.”
With Bethesda using the best components found within the previous games in Fallout 4, improving the customization and graphics, and the unfathomable amount of hype surrounding this game’s release, there’s a good chance that Fallout 4 will surpass the previous titles in overall quality and crush it in terms of sales.
With gameplay improvements, the power of hype on their side, the player base growing with each passing day, and pre-order sales rising above other popular titles, it’s a safe bet that Fallout 4 sales will rival, if not surpass, the sales of Skyrim and its various DLCs.
After taking a look at the potential Fallout 4 has to become a commercial success, it becomes easy to predict how successful this title will be compared to other games from Bethesda. Considering how much time and effort went into the development of this game, selling anything less than 15 million copies would be a monumental failure for the company. Given everything Fallout 4 has going for it, a prediction of 25 million copies being sold shouldn’t be outside the realm of possibility. With the considerable potential Fallout 4 is showing, it’s safe to say that it will manage to sell upwards of 30 million copies.
How about you? How many copies do you think Fallout 4 will sell? Let us know in the Comments.