Bethesda Softworks said that it shipped 12 million copies, or $750 million worth of postapocalypse role-playing game Fallout 4 to retailers for its launch day. And it says that follow-up shipments have already begun, suggesting that the initial copies have sold out — making it one of the year’s biggest sellers and showing that the series is breaking into the mainstream.
Fallout 4’s launch also shows that while mobile gaming gets many headlines with its $30 billion worldwide industry and nearly $6 billion acquisitions, the console industry remains strong at $25.1 billion in the U.S. alone and at the forefront of innovation. It’s the master of delivering huge interactive experiences that millions of people want , are willing to spend $60 or more for at a time, and can’t get on their smartphones. Virtual reality is becoming a key to Sony’s future strategy with the top-selling PlayStation 4 home system, and both Microsoft’s and Sony’s efforts in delivering games through the cloud and could help every streaming media company figure out how to make their experiences bigger and better by cutting down lag.
And while Bethesda is happy to trumpet the launch, the game publisher did not supply any sell-through numbers yet, or the numbers that retailers say they’ve actually sold to consumers. Still, the sell-in number is impressive, and it shows there was a lot of pent-up demand for a new Fallout game, which took Bethesda four years to make. We’ve asked Bethesda for sell-through numbers, and the company said it’s saying anything other than what in it’s release we received earlier today. But the game makes a good case for the strategy of taking a game and cooking it for a long time, in contrast to launching a Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed game every single year.
“We’re extremely proud of Todd Howard, Game Director at Bethesda Game Studios, and his experienced team of developers for their talent and dedication in creating this extraordinary game,” said Bethesda Softworks president Vlatko Andonov, in a statement. “Fallout 4 is a masterpiece in game development and storytelling, providing fans hundreds of hours of fun as they explore and are challenged by this fascinating, beautifully crafted world.”
Bethesda also said that the Pip-Boy Edition of the game, which bundled the game with a replica of the absurdly large wrist-mounted computer characters wear, has sold out. That version was gone within hours of availability. Bethesda said that multiple retailers told it that Fallout 4 had the highest launch day numbers of any game this year.
By way of comparison, Call of Duty: Black Ops III sold $550 million through to consumers in its first three days on the market. And Halo 5: Guardians sold through more than $400 million in its first week. Call of Duty has sold more than $10 billion worth over the past decade, while the Halo series has sold more than $5 billion in its lifetime.
Bethesda said that digital sales of Fallout 4 are “breaking records.” On Steam, Fallout 4 became the No. 1 game played, surpassing the previous record for concurrent play with over 470,000 Fallout players. The companion app, Fallout Pip-Boy, became the number one game on the iTunes App Store. Fallout 4 also set the record as the most viewed game launch of all 2015 games, according to Twitch.
“A huge thanks to our fans that’ve made this all possible,” said Todd Howard, Game Director on Fallout 4, in a statement. “After four years of development, it’s not complete until our fans get to play it and make it their own. We can’t wait to hear about their adventures.”
In Fallout 4 you play the sole survivor of Vault 111 and enter a world destroyed by nuclear war. Your goal is to collect stuff and survive. It’s a huge game, with a lot of hours of gameplay and exploration of a devastated open world. I’m just getting started in it.