Bethesda Game Studio’s newest mobile title, “The Elder Scrolls: Blades,” launched in early access on the App Store a week ago and it’s already been downloaded by more than one million iOS users, despite being invite-only, according to market intelligence company Sensor Tower.
Bethesda hasn’t said exactly how many invites are out in the wild, but it’s likely that number is less than one million. Sensor Tower notes a similar scenario happened during the early access launch of the battle royale game “Fortnite” on iOS in March 2018. In that case, many eager fans installed the app on their smart devices without an invite from developer Epic Games.
“The Elder Scrolls: Blades” is a free-to-play dungeon crawler based on Bethesda’s popular role-playing game franchise. It features both crafted and procedurally-generated dungeons, a player-vs.-player Arena, touch-based combat controls, and more.
It also features what some are calling an obtrusive microtransaction system. Loot chests in the game are reportedly on a real-world timer. So, players can either wait to open them or they can pay gems to open them instantly. Of course, those gems are available to buy with real-world money. “Blades” has already grossed nearly $500,000 so far, Sensor Tower said. Players in the United States accounted for about 76% of that revenue in the title’s first week. They also represent close to 42% of the installs.
This is Bethesda Game Studio’s second attempt at a mobile title based on one of its popular franchises. It launched a construction and management sim called “Fallout Shelter” in 2015. That game became a big success for the developer. It’s reached over 120 million downloads and its player base is reportedly larger than every other Bethesda Game Studios title combined.