Gaming TV – A Renewed Frontier?
Stacey Sher, a boss of Activision Blizzard, believes that due to the success of the ‘Skylanders: Academies’ “more gaming and TV” crossovers could be coming soon. Although this is not the first time gaming and TV have crossed paths – for example both Mario and Sonic, in ‘Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog’ and ‘The Adventures of Super Mario Bros 3’ respectively have graced TV screens before. However, despite some popularity neither show quite hit the heights of programmes such as ‘The Simpsons’ or other cartoons managed.
‘Skylanders: Academies’ may have bucked this trend. With an ever increasing video game market, the appetite for video game TV shows at both the board and viewership level is increasing. With Skylanders: Academies having been made for the incredibly popular streaming site Netflix, it paves the way for other games – Sher suggested the already immensely popular Overwatch and cult-like StarCraft 2 might have their own shows in the not too distant future. Indeed, the Assassins Creed franchise is getting its own film 21st December of this year.
Although TV and film inspired and based off of video games in the past has not reached the heights of their more traditional counterparts in visual media, the rise of gaming as a major worldwide media industry – estimated to be worth $99.6 billion for 2016 according to research conducted by Newzoo, and they estimate that by 2019 the market will be worth $118.6 billion. For comparison, Global box office revenue in 2016 was just $38.3 billion and TV revenue as a whole was $286.2 billion. Traditional film and TV companies can ill afford to ignore the growth of the gaming industry.
Such a move would be welcome in my mind. The introduction of the competition of worthwhile and well produced video game TV series’ and films would freshen up the staling marketplace of TV and film. Although, there runs the risk that the introduction of gaming TV series’ and films could be quickly oversaturated as various publishers and developers seek to cash in on this renewed frontier of cross-media interaction.
Without a doubt, this prospective expanse of the gaming industry could either bring it to the forefront of all media platforms, or fail to get off the ground entirely. It’s success will depend on the quality of not only the TV shows and films themselves, but the foresight and care of gaming publishers and developers not to saturate this new cross-media market as somem have with the video game industry itself; such as Activison with their infamous ‘Call of Duty’ series or even Ubisoft’s ‘Assassins Creed’ franchise.
Hopefully this renewed effort to cross both traditional media and video games will succeed, not just to offer a fresh alternative to traditional TV shows and films but also to integrate the video game experience for users to complete and enhance their video games to create a near single entertainment hub.