How This App Accidentally Made $5 Million in Two Weeks
J Thoendell stashed this in Video Games
At last month’s E3 conference in Los Angeles, Bethesda Softworks, a company normally focused on high-end titles for consoles and PCs, launched a smartphone game called Fallout Shelter, intended to drum up excitement for the next version of its popular Fallout franchise. In the game, players control their very own nuclear fallout shelter, known as a vault, which resembles a post-apocalyptic ant farm. The cheeky little game was an instant hit.
It might not seem surprising that a reputable video game company could make a popular mobile game, but Bethesda’s success with Fallout Shelter is actually pretty unusual. Companies that make games for consoles and personal computers have generally not done well with smartphone apps. The mobile gaming market is often discussed as though it’s completely distinct from the other wings of the gaming industry, and never the two shall meet. The experience of Fallout Shelter both undermines and reinforces this narrative.
The free app brought in $5.1 million in its first two weeks by selling players “lunchboxes” that speed along their progress in the game, according to data released Thursday by market-research firm SuperData. It was the most downloaded iPhone game in the U.S. for most of the days over the next three weeks and was one of the 10 top-grossing games in the country almost every day until last Monday. At some point during its brief run, it was the most downloaded iPhone game in 48 countries and the highest-grossing game in 11. But its early success seems to be ending, as it drops down the charts in terms of both downloads and revenue.
This is utterly brilliant.
The free app brought in $5.1 million in its first two weeks by selling players “lunchboxes” that speed along their progress in the game, according to data released Thursday by market-research firm SuperData.