Fallout franchise sees player count resurgence across all games thanks to sales, promotions, and an excellent TV series

 Fallout 4 Sole Survivor Art.
Fallout 4 Sole Survivor Art.
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What you need to know

  • Fallout is a video game franchise that first started in 1997 by Interplay and acquired by ZeniMax Media's Bethesda Softworks in 2007.

  • Every Fallout game is currently seeing increased player counts on Steam, with multiple titles becoming best-sellers on Steam and GOG.

  • This resurgence is thanks to a number of promotions and sales, as well as the launch of  a well-received Fallout TV show on Prime Video.

A well-timed show and some sales have given a shot of adrenaline to a big Xbox franchise.

The Fallout series is having a resurgence right now, with increased player counts across every game in the franchise. According to SteamDB, which tracks player counts, price history, and more for Steam games, Bethesda Game Studios' Fallout 4 is currently being played by over 53,000 concurrent players.

While a far cry from the game's all time peak — Fallout 4 reached 472,000 concurrent players on Steam shortly nine years ago — this is still a huge increase over the recent norm, as Fallout 4 had been averaging around 18,000 to 20,000 players for the last few years.

A similar story can be seen with every other Fallout game. The team's multiplayer entry Fallout 76, which usually has over 10,000 players on Steam, has gone up to 26,000 players. Fallout 3 (which first launched back in 2008) has gone from an average of 500 players to 3,600. Obsidian Entertainment's 2010 entry, Fallout: New Vegas, usually averaged 3,000 to 4,000 players but is now over 11,000 concurrent players.

Why is the Fallout series seeing a resurgence?

Fallout TV series The Ghoul sitting
Fallout TV series The Ghoul sitting

This player resurgence across the Fallout games has a couple of different factors, with one of the biggest being the recent launch of the Fallout TV series on Prime Video. The series has been well-received — you can read my review right now — with praise toward the original story and respect for the source material.

Outside of the show drumming up interest, there's also a franchise-wide sale right now. You can grab Fallout 4 on Steam for just $5, with Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas available for half that. Fallout 76 has a free trial right now, and a long-awaited current-generation update for Fallout 4 is arriving on April 25 for Xbox Series X|S, Windows PC, and PlayStation 5 players.

Of course, as an Xbox series thanks to Microsoft buying Bethesda's parent company ZeniMax Media, the Fallout games are also available in Xbox Game Pass.

Do TV show adaptions usually boost game sales and player counts?

The Last of Us box art.
The Last of Us box art.

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We've seen evidence in the past that a well-received TV adaption of a game franchise has a synergistic effect, with a game receiving new and returning players thanks to newfound interest because of the show.

After The Last of Us HBO show launched in January 2023, game sales saw a significant increase, with The Last of Us Part 1 and The Last of Us Part 2 becoming the sixth and eighteenth best-selling games of February 2023 in the U.S, respectively. Prior to that, the release of the Cyberpunk: Edgerunners anime on Netflix helped boost sales of Cyberpunk 2077.

Analysis: It's a great time to set the world on fire

It's a great time to get back into Fallout (or hop in for the first time), and anecdotally, I know plenty of people who are double-dipping and buying the games on sale again right now. I'll personally be jumping back into Fallout 4 when the update arrives, and I might even have to spend more time in Fallout 76 after that.

In the meantime, if you'd like to learn more about the creation of the Fallout TV series, you can check out my interview with creator Jonathan Nolan, as well as the showrunners and some of the cast.