Just ahead of E3, Bethesda dropped a bombshell on the gaming world: Fallout 4 was officially announced. Fallout fans around the world rejoiced, eagerly anticipating the latest installment in a game series that captured their hearts and minds for hours and hours at a time. As Bethesda attempted to sate fan hunger for post-apocalyptic action in their first conference at E3, they announced the release of a companion game for iOS: Fallout Shelter.
Fallout Shelter is a free-to-play game with microtransactions, though without the cooldown timers endemic to the genre. In it, the player manages a Vault from the series, going through various management tasks such as resource collection, base building, defense, etc.
Fallout Shelter puts a twist on the Freemium model, allowing players to play as much as they want with no restrictions. Microtransactions only allow players to purchase "lunch boxes," the Fallout equivalent of a treasure chest, which are regular and random rewards for gameplay. In effect, the game is completely playable in a reasonable time without paying money.
And yet the desire for random loot rewards is insatiable. As CNET notes, Fallout Shelter was the third-highest grossing app on the iTunes App store on June 16 and 17, beating out Candy Crush. The only titles grossing higher were Clash of Clans and Game of War: Fire Age.
Bethesda appears to have opened a goldmine early. Player response to Fallout Shelter is positive, both in the critical and monetary sense. To the dismay of many, Bethesda announced on Twitter that the Android version of the game would likely be out within a few months.
Yes, we're also working on Fallout Shelter for Android. Hopefully out in a few months.— BethesdaGameStudios (@BethesdaStudios) June 16, 2015
More and more video game series and titles are receiving companion apps. Some are simply utilities, others are minigames, and still others are cut-down ports. Not all apps are well received, but as time marches on developers and publishers are finding success more common on mobile platforms.
With Bethesda's success and even gaming giant Nintendo turning eyes toward mobile, the future landscape of video gaming is changing. To those developers adept enough to adapt, that landscape seems very profitable as well.