Frontline Marketing

‘Fallout 4’ Continues Trend of Revitalized Game Marketing

By | November 13, 2015 |

Video games continue to sell monumentally well leading into the holiday season, and November could be an even bigger month, with games like Fallout 4 leading the charge.

Developer and publisher Bethesda Softworks announced on its official blog that the long-awaited sequel, has had a tremendous launch this week, with 12 million units shipped since the game released on Tuesday, and has generated around $750 million in sales so far. Even though 12 million copies shipped doesn’t equal copies sold, Bethesda has already begun shipping additional units to retailers, “to meet ongoing market demand” in time for the forthcoming holiday rush.

Fallout 4‘s success mainly relied on a lucrative marketing campaign, one that involved a number of factors, including pre-order hype (particularly surrounding the Pip-Boy Edition of the game, which sold out quickly via pre-orders) through various retailers, online advertisements for the game, previews through a number of notable game sites, and, most television spots, including the well-received live-action TV ad.

Fallout 4 is just the latest success story for 2015 in terms of both marketing and sales, as other companies have seen big-number launches for its franchises. This includes The Witcher III: Wild Hunt, which is an open-world role-playing game that became one of the biggest success stories of the year. It received a strong following with its advertising and word-of-mouth from avid gamers. The game also got a surge from the introduction of an add-on, Hearts of Stone, which released last month. Another DLC pack, Blood and Wine, is due for release next year, which will shift attention back to the game.

Super Mario Maker, the do-it-yourself adventure featuring the iconic plumber, has sold more than one million units since its release, and has helped bolster sales of Nintendo Wii U consoles. Additionally, Splatoon, a new franchise that was introduced this past May, has become a big breadwinner for the company, with 1.6 million units sold as of July. Both had strong marketing behind them, including television ads, Internet campaigns, promotional events (including one for Splatoon featuring Hollywood star James Marsden) and other advertising, and the push is likely to continue for Nintendo’s holiday line-up, which includes Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival, Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash and Xenoblade Chronicles X. Nintendo also announced a Wii U bundle that includes Splatoon and Super Smash Bros. for $279, which will be available before Black Friday, so that should receive lots of promotional push.

Halo 5: Guardians has become a huge best-seller for Microsoft. The game generated $400 million in global sales over its first week, topping the $300 million record set by Halo 4 three years prior. The game got big attention from its TV campaign and record-breaking online streaming sessions. It played a part in pushing the Xbox One console over PlayStation 4 for the month of October, as part of the “greatest line-up in gaming history.” That line-up also includes Forza Motorsport 6 and the newly-released Rise of the Tomb Raider. It too will receive a push as the holidays go on, especially for those that don’t have an Xbox One, as a special 1TB bundle is available with a custom-designed Halo controller and game system.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 launch sale figures blew many away, which made its live-action launch trailer, featuring Fantastic Four actor Michael B. Jordan, football player Marshawn Lynch and fashion model Cara Delevingne very fitting. “In its first three days, the blockbuster title exceeded $550 million in sell-through worldwide, according to Activision estimates. The opening weekend haul is the biggest entertainment launch of 2015, including theatrical box office, music and book launches,” said the company in a press release. However, this announcement came before the release of Fallout 4. Regardless of who has the bigger success, Black Ops will continue to see a strong push into the holidays and beyond, not only by Activision, but also by Sony, who has signed an exclusive content deal with the company that will enable PlayStation 4 owners to get access to maps and other downloadable content before Xbox One and PC.

Now, all eyes are on EA, as its heavily hyped Star Wars: Battlefront prepares for release this Tuesday. With the the extensive marketing (like a trailer featuring Anna Kendrick) and much-anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie releasing next month, Battlefront stands a good chance of using The Force to come out far ahead this holiday season. This will likely continue over the next few months, following the film’s release and with a variety of downloadable content on deck, something that will be right up the alley of its millions of devoted fans. The company is stirring up further excitement using the EA Access program on Xbox One, which lets subscribers play the game five days prior to its official release.