Fallout Shelter is a free game that was made by the developers of Fallout (Bethesda), it has been around for years and has had millions of downloads across multiple platforms. This article isn’t about the nitty-gritty of why Fallout Shelter has more downloads. This article is about the choices that gamers now face. This article explains why some gamers are “choosing” Fallout Shelter over Elden Ring.
Gamers Have New Choices to Make
Modern gamers are going to have to make some odd choices over the next few years. The gaming industry has changed in a big way, especially now that the gaming market is three times bigger than the movie market. Gamers have always lived in a world of where choice boils down to “or.”
Did you play Nintendo’s Mario “Or” Sega’s Sonic?
- Were you Playstation’s Resident Evil 1 “Or” N64s GoldenEye?
- Were you going to play Xbox One “Or” Playstation 4?
It is only now, in this weird part of gaming history, that the “Either/or” choice has splintered to the point where the oddly brilliant free Fallout Shelter game is a viable alternative to Triple-A games. The choices gamers make these days have changed quite significantly from the choices gamers made just a few years ago.
The Chip Shortage That Squashed the Console War
The 2020 pandemic has led to a computer chip shortage that has massively impacted the gaming industry (PC and console), the auto industry, and the cryptocurrency mining industry. In short, there is a massive demand for these chips and not nearly enough supply.
Now the Xbox X/S and Playstation 5 may appear to be competing, but scalpers are stripping all supplies as soon as they hit the stores. We have no real idea how well each is selling, other than the fact that scalpers are charging more for Playstation 5s.
The console war was already close to death. Xbox handed the last gen’s victory to Sony when Microsoft decided to charge too much when they added always-online DRM and demanded that all users have a Kinect. After that, gaming got a lot better. Audiences were less divided, most popular games were ported to all platforms (even Nintendo Switch), and cross-platform multiplayer gaming hit new heights. Gamers from any platform could play multiplayer with games from other platforms; it is easy, it is fun, and it works.
There was a risk of the console wars starting up again, especially considering the seemingly rushed releases of the next-gen consoles. Yet, the pandemic left people without enough spare cash for a next-gen console. The lockdowns closed the stores, and the chip shortage has ensured that people can’t run out and buy their desired console. The golden age of gaming is upon us and where you may still have to pick between an Xbox and Playstation, you will still be able to play most games regardless of what you choose.
The Battlefield vs COD Dilemma
Another modern choice is almost identical games choices. It is Battlefield vs Call of Duty, it is Minecraft vs Roblox, Mortal Kombat vs Injustice, Fortnite vs PubG. For every Stardew Valley, there is an Animal Crossing, and it has made for an odd choice.
Where the old dilemma was which console to choose, it is now which game to choose. You may say, “Well we had to pick between Mario and Sonic, so nothing has changed.” But that would only apply if back in the day it was Sonic vs Runny Hedgehog or GoldenEye vs Moonraker. We live in an age where wherever there is a Dark Souls there is a Nioh 2 or The Surge 2.
Fallout Shelter is the Poor Man’s Elden Ring
There are more people online looking for Fallout Shelter tips than there are looking for Elden Ring tips. And, where logic suggests that Elden Ring is newer and not as established, you have to remember that Elden Ring was winning “Most anticipated game” awards before it was even released.
The reason people are having to pick free games and even indie games are because they don’t have the next-gen hardware, they can’t get higher-spec computers, and they would rather not experience Elden Ring at all than have to play it with a lag or with its graphics turned all the way down.
The Choice of Developer
As well as the many choices already presented in this article, another choice is of which developers to support. A mix of circumstances has come together so that developers are getting just as much space in news outlets as sports and celebrities.
Things like early access on Steam and YouTube supporters have helped expose the world of indie gaming and helped expose the people behind indie games. New and indie developers are now cheered on or booed off the stage.
Social media and large gaming events have also shown people what developers are really like. We have come to love some of them, like FromSoftware, Hideo Kojima, ID Software, Capcom, Square Enix, etc. And, we have come to hate some developers such as EA (loot boxes, FIFA re-skins), Activision/Blizzard (sexual harassment), Ubisoft (Greed), KRAFTON/PUBG (Super Greed), and so forth.
In this day and age, the only way we can vote is with our wallets. If we support developers who are using gambling loot boxes, then we are encouraging it as a practice. If we buy games like Cyberpunk 2077 when they are broken, then we are encouraging others developers to release broken games and cash in.
When we support games like Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled and Gran Turismo 7, when they put in predatory micro-transactions “after” all their positive reviews are in, then we are encouraging other developers to do the same. These days, the developers you choose to support are going to affect your gaming experience for years to come.
Choice of Politics
In truth, politics and gaming have never really sold. They started covering up women in the Mortal Kombat games and sales fell. They fell because gaming is about fantasy, and people can see fully dressed people wherever they go. Players don’t choose the Ork or skeleton to play as because it is fun fantasy fulfillment. Players want flying half-dressed lightning angels in their games because it is a fantasy, not because they think that is how women should dress when they are driving a bus or pulling teeth.
Games that try to drag real-world politics into gaming are wasting their time, and developers are slowly coming to realize that. At the most, they pander to the access woke media on the surface, just to keep them off their back until launch.
Just watch the Hogwarts Legacy interviews and you will see carefully scripted content from developers who are scared out of their minds of saying the wrong thing. Walking the lines between pandering, appeasing, and not alienating. They know they are on uneven ground because the Harry Potter franchise has had quite a bit of woke backlash after the creator said she didn’t find male transsexuals in drag as attractive as masculine men.
To the credit of Ubisoft, they seem experts at politics. They seem to be able to avoid political issues that would otherwise ruin their games. It often looks as if their games are pretty woke and fairly political, but once you actually start playing, you see they are neither. For example, in Far Cry 5, it looked on the surface like an attack on conservatives, but once you actually started playing the game, you realized that just about every ethnicity, race, gender, and personality type is in the game as an antagonist.
They found a way to make everybody the antagonist. From hipsters to hippies, they found a way of making everybody part of the antagonist group. Plus, the dangerous cult leader turned out to be a good guy who was trying to do something good but had gone a very “Wrong” way about it. On the surface, Far Cry 5 looks like a scathing attack on Trump-era conservatives, when in fact it is just a fun game about a cult leader with a secret motive (spoiler – he is trying to save everybody).
Will Fallout Shelter Be Remembered Forever?
No, of course, it won’t. Despite its popularity, it hasn’t reached cult status like Angry Birds, Candy Crush, or even other free games like Halo on PC. Elden Ring is part of the Dark Souls community. It is no more of a Dark Souls game than Sekiro, Bloodborne, or Demon’s Souls, but it lives under the FromSoft umbrella and people will probably still be talking about it in twenty years. People are still buying Fallout Shelter items five years after release, people will probably still buy Elden Ring runes in ten years.
With that in mind, does this mean your choice is set? No, but your choices will become easier once modern problems are resolved. Modern gen gaming consoles will eventually drop in price and become more accessible. History will weed out the worthy games vs the unworthy games (although honestly, COD Vanguard is not much better than Battlefield 2042). Computer chips will eventually become cheaper, modern-gen games will fall in price over time, and soon we will not have to choose between free/indie games and Triple-A games.
Infuriatingly humble organizer. Entrepreneur. Zombie guru. Professional creator. Future teen idol.