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Fallout Streaming Popularity Skyrockets Following the TV Premiere

Fallout is a mainstay of internet-era gaming. Although many video games are now dominated by post-apocalyptic worlds with scavengers hunting through rusted-out junkyards and carving through mutated monstrosities, Fallout was one of the first games to establish this setting. Despite this saturated space, the Atompunk, retro-futuristic styling of Fallout remains unique, with Vault Boy and Nuka-Cola standing as some of gaming’s most iconic imagery.

On April 12th, TV audiences were introduced to this world with Amazon’s Fallout TV series. The series has been a massive success, continuing the trend of successful video game adaptations marked by the Castlevania Netflix animated series and The Last of Us HBO series. As these worlds reach new audiences, old fans and newcomers flock back to the games that originated these brilliantly realized worlds. Naturally, this also means streamers returning to the games and driving viewership for titles through these franchises.

Fallout is no exception. The franchise’s popularity on streaming has taken off, adding to the discourse around the importance of transmedia storytelling in propagating a video game series’ longevity.

Fallout TV Series Premiere Sparks Streaming Interest for Fallout Video Games

Following the TV series premiere on April 12th, Fallout streaming viewership began to gain traction. In the days preceding, Fallout franchise viewership floated at around 40 – 70K hours watched per day. On the date of the premiere, Fallout viewership rose to 176K hours watched, continuing to surge upwards from there to a high of 547K five days after release. This demand was also spurred on by a generous Steam sales event which began on April 11th that saw most Fallout games being discounted by up to 80%. Clearly, the sales event was a clever promotional move to draw in curious players to the world of Fallout.

Several high-profile streamers jumped on the Fallout bandwagon as a result of the TV series premiere. Among all streamers, shroud led the way with 82K hours watched for Fallout content in the four days following the premiere (excluding watch parties for the premiere episode). Shroud mainly focused on Fallout 76 content, the most recently released game in the series, and a prequel to the mainline story. Rubius, however, commanded the highest average minute viewership (AMA) of any streamer with 29.6K while playing Fallout 4 – the most recent game in the Fallout world’s timeline.

Fallout 76 Leads Streaming Demand Among All Fallout Games

The Fallout series has splintered off into various titles. The mainline series, most recently including Fallout 4, is the beating heart of the franchise. But Fallout: New Vegas and Fallout 76 are both considered canon, and both have loyal fans due to the intricacies of the stories in each. As a result, when the TV series premiered there was a split in which games streamers and viewers took an interest in.

Fallout 76 nonetheless generated the most demand as the most recently-released Fallout game, garnering 700K hours watched since the TV premiere. Fallout 4 fell just short of the top spot with 656K hours watched over the same period. Undoubtedly, the Steam sale was a large contributor to this overwhelming increase in demand. The concurrent player base on Steam for all three of the Fallout titles mentioned rose, with Fallout 76 hitting 39K concurrent users on April 14th – a record for the game. Fallout 4 also became the top-selling video game on Steam shortly after the TV premiere.

TV Adaptations of Video Games Are Gaining Potency in Boosting Streaming Viewership

Fallout is far from the first video game franchise to receive a boost from its TV adaptation. Even last year, Stream Hatchet reported on a similar effect for The Last of Us when its TV adaptation was released on HBO. When comparing viewership for the five days prior to the TV premiere and the five days following it, Fallout saw a jump of 262% in hours watched from 513K to 1.9M. This was a larger percentage increase than any other video game’s boost from a TV adaptation when looking at a similar time period around their release. League of Legends had a higher raw increase in hours watched upon the release of Arcane however, jumping by 15.5M hours watched.

The virtues of transmedia approaches to storytelling and marketing have been extolled since long before this recent wave of TV adaptations. Early video games were dominated by shovelware used to promote new releases of toys and TV shows. However, the motivation behind this new wave feels more artistic, spotlighting the intricate world-building of video games through the linear storytelling formats of film and TV. Successfully implementing this strategy without causing online backlash requires intimate respect for the original work’s origins. The Fallout TV series successfully walked this line, making only minor changes to the video game series’ canon to create one cohesive story.

Bethesda used the Steam sale to provide something for fans of the franchise to get excited about given that a new Fallout game is a while off yet – most likely after the next Elder Scrolls game. Despite delays, a next-gen update with the Fallout: London mod is also expected within the next month. Stream Hatchet will be tracking the success of the Fallout: London mod and any future TV adaptations of video game franchises in the coming months.

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