In context: Bethesda’s The Elder Scrolls: Blades entered early-access a month ago on iOS and Android mobile devices. Like all early-access games, the experience is a little icky with disappointing character models, simplistic progression, and even more simplistic combat. That hasn’t stopped it from being successful.
A Sensor Tower report reveals just how much cash Blades has raked in over the last month: $1.5 million. With 1.3 million players, that’s nearly $1.20 per download and $50 per day, which is right up there with some of the most popular gaming apps. About 73% of revenue is generated in the United States, with the UK making up the second largest portion of 5%.
While the numbers aren’t as gigantic as they could be – Bethesda’s Fallout Shelter, for example, made $8.7 million in its first month with 4.4 million downloads – Fallout Shelter didn't have a pre-release phase and was launched in full on June 14, 2015. Meanwhile Blades was made available as a closed beta in early March for Apple devices only. Later that month, the game launched as an “early-access” title on both iOS and Android.
Interestingly, the first million players downloaded the game in the first week of its release. This suggests that the game’s current success rates are closely linked to the hype Bethesda was able to generate at the game’s E3 announcement, and that players' mixed reviews (you can also read our hands-on impressions) drove other players away rather than pulling them in.
If Bethesda can’t prove that they’ve substantially upped the ante for the full game, they run the risk of it being more of a Fallout 76 than a Skyrim. Bethesda has missed all their release targets thus far, so it's unclear when the game's proper release will be.
Correction: It was earlier reported that The Elder Scrolls: Blades was released to Apple iOS devices only, but the game was actually made available as “early-access” on both iOS and Android. It is currently available on the Google Play store and has over a million installs on that platform alone.