How Did Fallout 4 Sell Over 12 Million Copies?
Fallout 4’s financial success is partially due to its excellent marketing
One of the primary reasons I believe that Fallout 4 was such a financial success during its first week was its obviously effective marketing in the months leading up to the game’s release. One way the gaming industry incentivizes gamers to spend as much money as possible as soon as possible is to offer extras for either pre-purchasing the game and/or buying special editions.
With Fallout 4, players could get cool Fallout 4 paraphernalia if they purchases special editions of the game. By only offering this for a limited time, gamers have an added pressure to spend the extra money if they believe they will never be able to get this extra stuff ever again. And I think this is why the sales of a game, movie, etc. is so important during its initial release rather than its sales in the weeks and months afterwards when demand has died down and thus has the price.
A long established line of successful titles and its unique setting helped Fallout 4 break sales records
Another major factor in Fallout 4’s success is the recognition and reputation the series garnered from previous titles. The Fallout series spans almost 20 years and successive well received titles have helped give Fallout a solid reputation as an rpg/action-rpg. Long established success has both given players faith in the product and built up a large fan base over the years.
Much of Fallout’s reputation comes from its setting. Post-apocalyptic settings are popular. But a post apocalyptic setting set in a future where culture has been frozen in the 1950’s and future technology consists of 1950’s sci-fi weaponry? genius.
Fallout 4’s additions and subtractions to its mechanics have attracted a wider audience, but at what cost?
We can also credit Fallout 4’s success with the new mechanics added to the game
In addition to having previous titles be successful, Fallout 4 also follows in the trend of adding new mechanics. Fallout 3 integrated a first person shooter mechanic into its gameplay so as to appeal to that portion of gamers. And Fallout 4 took this formula and combined it with the streamlining of difficulty by; adding settlement building, regenerating health, more emphasis on shooter mechanics, turning power armor into effectively a tank mode, removing skill allocation in favor of choosing new perks every level, etc.
So now instead of just an isometric rpg heavily focused on storytelling and encouraging the player to think tactically with each combat and strategically with their skill allocation, Fallout 4 lets you do almost everything from collecting scrap to build strobe lights for your house to falling in love to massacring hordes of raiders. And this has added a lot of appeal to the wider gaming audience.
Does Fallout 4 risk losing its long standing fanbase with such radical changes to the gameplay?
However I am not the first to say that this expansion in appeal has come with a cost. I believe there are legitimate concerns about the sorts of decisions made with Fallout 4. I consider myself to be a modest Fallout fan. I own all the games but have only finished 3 and New Vegas and put about 60 hours into Falout 4 and I can say for me at least Fallout 4 seems to have sold its soul in terms of gameplay.
I often find it dishonest to even call it an rpg at times. By no means is it a bad game, but it lacks the core aspects of an RPG that gave previous Fallout titles their initial fan base. And I personally would like to see a lot more restraint and focus on core rpg mechanics for future installments.
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