TBI Tech & Analysis: How ‘The Last Of Us’ has plotted a new path for gaming & TV

The Last Of Us

HBO drama The Last Of Us has underlined the huge potential of creating a TV show based on a video game, but using such IP was hardly a new approach. Richard Middleton speaks to Omdia’s Maria Rua Aguete about this inexact science and why more adaptations are likely.

TV shows based on video games soared by 47% from 2021 to 2022, culminating in the success of HBO’s adaptation of The Last Of Us, which made its bow in January.

The show has become a critical darling but its popularity also underlines the trend of media companies cross-populating the IP that is on TV screens with the characters being coded into games.

It is clear why: gaming is a huge business and, while video game adaptations have stretched back for decades – think Tomb Raider and House Of The Dead, most resulting shows have fared badly with critics, viewers and gamers alike.

This perception, however, is changing as TBI reported last week, with Netflix leading the charge with shows based around IP such as Resident Evil, Castlevania and League Of Legends.

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

“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.

There are also some fundamentals that could make the shift stick this time around, if the quality of resulting series can be maintained.

Research from Omdia highlights how gamers are in and of themselves “highly engaged” across the media landscape, Rua Aguete says, meaning a game-related show should, in theory at least, grab the attention quicker than a truly original piece of IP.


This trend is important because the gaming audience is huge and it is visible in many of the major markets, including the US, the UK, Germany, France, Mexico and Brazil. For global streamers looking for a piece of IP that is known globally, the opportunity is clear.

Revenues from gaming are also set to climb steadily over the next five years, overtaking pay TV by 2027, and producers of both TV shows and games are seeing potential in making more tie-ups between the two industries.

Rua Aguete adds that the size of the gaming market – two thirds of US consumers are gamers across mobile, PC and console – also provides huge cross-selling potential globally.

Indeed, 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.

The key, it seems, is working in tandem with those holding innate knowledge of the game being adapted and its existing community.

“The built in audiences already feel connected to the characters in The Last Of Us, instead of creators building out characters that may not align,” Rua Aguete adds. With careful handling of gaming IP by streamers and TV producers, it looks likely that The Last Of Us will be anything but.

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