Why I’m hesitant to spend money on Fallout Shelter PC

Bethesda’s Fallout Shelter launched on PC this week, after a year or so as a mobile title. While I had taken the game for a brief spin on an aging iPad, I don’t really ‘do’ mobile gaming so didn’t spend much time with it. I’d heard a lot of good things about it, though, so I was excited to give it a go on PC.

Fallout Shelter is free to play, with revenue generated through the sales of various consumables that make running and growing your shelter a little easier.

You install Fallout Shelter through the Bethesda.Net launcher after logging in with your Bethesda.Net account. I installed it on my desktop first. Started a vault and found that it was a pretty enjoyable game. I figured it’d only be a matter of time until I bought something to try to spiff up my shelter.

A few hours later I decided to install it on my Surface tablet. The good news is it runs very well on that hardware. The bad(ish) news is, I had to start a new Vault on the Surface. For some reason, maybe because I had to login to d/l the game, I assumed that Fallout Shelter ran on a server somewhere and that I’d be able to access my vault from any machine. Not so.

And for some reason that makes me less inclined to spend money on the game, I guess because I feel like I’d need to pick a spot where I was going to play before I started investing $$ on a particular vault. I kind of feel bad about this and in fact I might still buy some stuff just to support Bethesda but it’ll be a 1-time thing.

I guess it feels like playing Civ and spending $$ in order to build something in a city, knowing that you’re spending money on just one saved game and you will probably play many more; will you spend cash every time you play? With Vaults being local to each machine they just feel like a saved game rather than a persistent thing that I want to invest in. I know this isn’t really logical; I’m writing about it just because I find my own reaction kind of interesting.

I’m a little sad that this means there’ll never be any way to visit a friend’s vault either, I suppose. I’m sure there will be trainers or hacks that tweak the save file directly to get you all the stuff you could buy, so letting us interact with other players would mean spreading hacked materials around the game’s community.

None of this takes away from Fallout Shelter, mind you. It’s still a fun little game. And I’m sure it works the same way on mobile devices; since I only have one iPad and had moved on by the time the Android version came out, I’d never noticed. This is more an observation of my own buying habits than anything, I guess.