Exclusive: Video game adaptations soar 47% in 2022 as ‘quality perception’ rises

The Last Of Us

TV adaptations of video games soared by 47% from 2021 to 2022, with shows such as HBO hit The Last Of Us driving consumer perceptions around the quality of such titles.

Game-to-screen series have grown continually since the 1980s and findings from research powerhouse Omdia suggest it is not just the quantity of video game adaptations that is increasing.

Netflix has led the charge with shows based around IP such as Resident Evil, Castlevania and League Of Legends, which have been key to improving consumer perceptions around video game remakes.

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The Last Of Us has helped to cement the quality of adaptations and streamers are now rapidly expanding their game-related series, with game IP providing “culturally relevant” content that can relatively easily adapted.

“Streaming services and studios need more content to monetise their services and reach profitability. Dedicated fan bases across IP such as games, books and podcasts are becoming increasingly valuable,” Omdia’s Maria Rua Aguete tells TBI.

The size of the gaming market – two thirds of US consumers are gamers across mobile, PC and console – also provides huge cross-selling potential, meaning more adaptations can be expected.

In the week after The Last Of Us debuted in the UK, sales of the The Last Of Us Part 1 spiked 238% week-on-week, while the PS4 version of the game, The Last of Us: Remastered, saw a 322% sales spike.

Maria Rua Aguete

“The quality of shows are also improving,” Rua Aguete adds. “The days of poor performing titles like Tomb Raider or House Of The Dead are over. Now, we have series like The Last Of Us on HBO and they prove that quality, investment and writing of those adaptations has considerably improved.”

Adaptations are also in the rise because gaming IP tends “to lean into the political and social zeitgeist,” the Omdia analyst adds.

“Staying culturally relevant to today’s audiences keeps the storytelling fresh and drives conversation with viewers. Even topics that may feel controversial to some drive engagement across the board,” Rua Aguete says, pointing to elements within The Last Of Us such as LGBTQ+ representation and multigenerational lead characters as factors behind its success.

“The built in audiences also already feel connected to the characters in this adaptation instead of creators building out characters that may not align with how gamers envisioned the characters in their experiences.”

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