Video games are a valuable IP mine for shows

27 September, 2022

Since video games became hugely popular in the middle of the 1980s, a number of video game adaptations have been trying to ride that wave. Video games often offer a captivating storyline, charismatic characters that are already well-known and beloved by their audiences, and an engaging atmosphere that may be very successful when skillfully adapted to TV.  More than that, popular video games usually have an engaged fan base that is willing to consume any content related to their favorite game.

The most recent video game adaptation released, Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, has been very successful in its first two weeks. The Netflix production based on the dystopian game Cyberpunk 2077 has 15.49 times more demand than the average show in the US market so far in September, a very high number for a foreign language show in the US. Only three other shows based on video game IP were more in-demand this month to date. 

The top in-demand video game adaptation of that period is Netflix’s hit show The Witcher, with 29.22x the average demand. The Witcher franchise is based on a book series that inspired a video game series that inspired the TV series and is one of the most popular IPs owned by Netflix. The show is the fifth most in-demand Netflix original of that period and a prequel miniseries named The Witcher: Blood Origin is scheduled to be released in December 2022.


There is a relevant demand for legacy video game franchises. Some of the most successful shows are adaptations of game series that began in the 1980s or 1990s, like PokémonSonic Boom, and Castlevania. The Pokémon TV series, the most in-demand of these, was released in 1997 and has been very popular around the world since then, helping the Pokemon video game series become hugely popular outside Japan. Sonic Boom and Castlevania, were inspired by video game franchises that were first released in 1991 and 1986. These franchises are capable of renewing their fanbase through their more recent releases and also keeping fans that want to watch series based on the video games that they played when they were younger. 

The newest generation of video games is represented in the ranking by Arcane, a show set in the League of Legends game fictional universe and the third most in-demand video game adaptation in that period. The demand for this show is powered by the huge popularity of the game worldwide, which is considered one of the world’s largest e-sports.

Netflix is the streaming platform clearly making investments in video game adaptations. Five of the top  10 series on this ranking are Netflix original and exclusive shows. Besides that, Pokémon and Talking Tom and Friends are licensed content on Netflix, which makes seven of the top video game adaptations available on Netflix’s catalog. 

All but two of the 10 most in-demand shows based on video games are animated series (The Witcher and Halo). The demand for the Animation genre has been growing at higher rates than the overall growth of demand for series in the US market, especially after April 2021. Between January 2021 and August 2022 the demand for animated content grew by almost 50%, while the total demand for series in the US grew by about 20%. Other than the demand for video game adaptations, the growth of demand for animations is affected largely by the demand for Japanese anime like Attack On Titan and My Hero Academy and for legacy animated sitcoms like South ParkRick and Morty, and The Simpsons.


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