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

Fallout 4 Sole Survivor Art
(Image credit: Bethesda)

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?

Walton Goggins plays "The Ghoul" in the Fallout TV series. (Image credit: Prime Video)

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, developed by Naughty Dog in 2013, was adapted into an HBO show.  (Image credit: PlayStation Studios)

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. 

Samuel Tolbert
Freelance Writer

Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.

  • fjtorres5591
    Fallout 4 is going to get a bigger boost once the free update ships.
    But the biggest gainer is going to be NEW VEGAS once the video series reaches its peak and everybody sees the final scenes.
    Season 2 can't come fast enough.
    "Okey Dokey"?
  • fdruid
    Great. Now release a really good game for a change.
  • fjtorres5591
    Define good.

    Bethesda RPGs have a formula that isn't for everyone. In fact, they are strictly for fans but, as the sneering critics said about THE CARPENTERS way back then, "But boy, are they legion!"

    Even the much derided FALLOUT 76 clocks in at 17M players.
    Skyrim stands at 60M and counting. Fallouts and Elder Scrolls, somewhere in between.

    If you go to the NEXUS modding site, there are new mods popping up daily for the Bethesda games. Ditto on the Bethesda.net mod sites for XBOX and PC. Those folks must be finding *something* they like. 😎

    Those games are time sinks, with people paying them regularly for years (a decade-plus for Skyrim and New Vegas) which suits Microsoft just fine because the most important metric for Game Pass is eyeball-hours (aka, engagement).

    Which means that whatever pundits may claim about their formula being dated, it still works. It still makes money. So why mess with it?

    Bethesda has other studios to do different but Softworks does what they do (make money) just fine. They have fans and yes, they are legion.
  • mitwee
    fdruid said:
    Great. Now release a really good game for a change.
    You first.
  • fdruid
    mitwee said:
    You first.
    Yes, I am a billionaire game publishing corporation too.
  • mitwee
    Oh, you made it sound easy. My bad. I mean Bethesda made Starfield, several Elder Scrolls games, several Fallout games that were great and enjoyed by millions of people for countless hours. How about your games? How many hours?