Amazon Prime's Fallout Show Has Everyone Playing The Games

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Since Amazon Prime’s Fallout TV series premiered, the numbers of people playing various Fallout games has shot up all over. Because you’re all a bunch of sheep, doing whatever The Media tells you to. Like, for instance, how I installed Fallout 76 on my Xbox last night.

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It’s perhaps to be expected, that the surprise not-shitness of the Fallout TV show has reignited everyone’s interest in the game series on which it’s based. But the scale of this interest remains impressive. Across the franchise, player numbers are near-vertical spikes.

This is most easily seen via the internet magicks of Steam DB, where player numbers can be conveniently graphed by game, over different periods of time. So, take the most recent mainline entry in the franchise, 2015's Fallout 4, and look at numbers for the last month, and you can see from the April 10 airdate of the series streaming on Amazon, those numbers of people playing at any one time leap from peaking at 24,000 the previous Sunday 7, to 83,491 on Sunday 14.

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But surely there are similar blips every time the game goes on sale, right? Fallout 4 is currently discounted by 75 percent, so that explains it? Well, nope. Scroll it back to the last three years, and the previous highest numbers were 34,000 back in August 2021. You have to go back to the game’s launch to see it beaten, albeit spectacularly so, with it’s November 2015 all-time peak of 471,955.

The same pattern persists for 2010's Fallout: New Vegas (currently on sale on Steam for 80 percent off), 2020 MMO Fallout 76, and even the original 1997 isometric RPG Fallout, hitting 2,352 simultaneous players this past weekend, its highest in over six years. And as VG247 spotted before me (damn their eyes), that’s an all-time record for Fallout 76 on Steam, the game’s previous high player count being 33k, and that was during a free weekend moments after launch.

Both Fallout 4 and Fallout 76 are also charting on Steam’s sales charts, so this isn’t just people reinstalling a long-owned copy. According to Steam’s “global top sellers” (at the time of writing, and ignoring the Steam Deck), FO4 and FO76 are the fourth and fifth best-selling games on the platform respectively. Considering the games above them are the free Counter-Strike 2 and PUBG: Plunkbat, the only for-sale game that’s beating them right now is the viral shooter du jour, Helldivers 2.

What’s the cynical angle on this? Um, sorry. A TV show that could have been catastrophically bad is instead really damned entertaining (although I’m only two eps in), and despite being from the people that brought us HBO’s Westworld, doesn’t feel like a series of never-to-be-kept promises, but instead just a plot being delivered upon as it goes. As a result, people—like me—have remembered that even though they absolutely hated Fallout 4 (and its stupid fucking useless dog), they haven’t given 76 a fair shake since its wobbly launch.

Given they’re all on Game Pass, thanks to Microsoft’s Pac-Man-like munching up of the games industry, you don’t even need to pay any more to join the sheep-like crowds.

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