4 marketing lessons we can learn from Bethesda

4 marketing lessons we can learn from Bethesda

Bethesda recently released their highly anticipated action role-playing game “Fallout 4,” and after only 24 hours, the developer sold 12 million copies, potentially making it the best selling game of 2015.  


While many believe that the popularity of the series was the biggest contributing factor to the success of “Fallout 4,” it’s hard to ignore the effectiveness of Bethesda’s strong advertising campaign. There were four key marketing tactics that Bethesda used to help make their game a massive success.


Create unique videos.

Two months before the release of “Fallout 4,” Bethesda posted a seven part weekly S.P.E.C.I.A.L. series to their YouTube account. The videos were comical black and white cartoons that showed the pros a specific attribute would give your character. These videos each gained millions of views because of their entertainment value, but at the same time they were able to advertise the game. While the videos didn’t overtly advertise “Fallout 4,” Bethesda found a way to subtly market their game, while drawing attention to their YouTube channel.       



Make use of apps.


Fallout app


To promote their triple A title, Bethesda released the free mobile game “Fallout Shelter.” The mobile game was released less than a month after “Fallout 4” was announced in June, and it quickly became the most downloaded game on the App Store in 48 countries. “Fallout Shelter” is a vault management game that only requires a few minutes of gameplay at a time, yet it was played 70 million times a day in June. By increasing the hype surrounding “Fallout 4” so soon after the game was announced, Bethesda helped secure themselves millions of sales.       


Offer creative incentives.

Most game developers offer a special version of the game that comes with bonus items at an increased cost, and Bethesda drew in a lot of attention with their “Fallout 4: Pip-Boy Edition.” The game was accompanied by a replica pip-boy that the gamer could wear around their arm, but came with a $120 price tag. Copies of the “Pip-Boy Edition” sold out months before the “Fallout” release, showing just how well this marketed “Fallout 4.”  


Don’t drag on campaigns.

Many games have been announced one or more years before they’re made available for sale, but Bethesda held off their announcement until the “Fallout 4” release was just under five months away. This allowed Bethesda to hype their game without fear that gamers would lose interest after waiting too long. By diversifying their marketing tactics during this five month period, Bethesda was able to keep the hype surrounding “Fallout 4” fresh in everyone’s mind.


Would “Fallout 4” have sold nearly as many copies if they didn’t market their game as well? How could Bethesda improve their marketing for future titles? Leave a comment or talk to me on Twitter @Karbowski_Devon.


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