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Opinion

Why Transmedia Is The Answer To Bloated Game Budgets.

One of the very first movies I ever saw in theaters was the 1995 Mortal Kombat film. At the time I had no idea it was tied to a game franchise ( I was 5 years old) but when I later saw the games in store I wanted them! The marketing strategy, if it even was a strategy, worked on me. Back then the team that created the first Mortal Kombat game at developer Midway was made up of only four people and they did it in less than one year.

Today a Triple-A studio consists of hundreds of people working on a single game for three to four years! And while the revenue that games make has increased dramatically as more people play games now than they did back then, the ratio of investment-to-profit has not exactly kept up as well. So what is the solution for solving this? Diversifying your income streams.

The Last Of Us

Bella Ramsey as Ellie in HBO’s “The Last Of Us”

Creating a video game is expensive due to the need for development, design, testing, and the most expensive thing of all: personnel and time. The popularity of video games has led to an increase in demand for adaptations into other media such as film, books, and TV. This provides a new revenue stream and helps to offset the high costs of game development.

Additionally, film and TV adaptations allow the story and world of the game to reach a wider audience. We saw this with the spikes most recently caused by Cyberpunk Edgerunners and HBO’s The Last Of Us. So there is almost a symbiotic relationship between the game and the adaptation.

What Methods Have Been Exhausted?

DLC  works for extra revenue, right? It depends on the individual gamer, but in general, some gamers feel negative about it as they view it as a way for game developers to extract more money from players after the initial purchase. Some feel neutral, as long as the DLC adds significant value to the game. Overall, opinions on paid DLC are all over the spectrum.

Loot boxes, a system where a player pays real or fake money for a randomly generated piece of content, were very controversial to the point they have been all but eliminated from most games. For the most part they are looked at with distain by most gamers and frowned upon by the greater gaming community.

Season passes, a sort of bulk version of DLC that is sometimes spread out over a given period of time or through completing specific in-game requirements, are a little more widely accepted. For one thing they are very upfront about how you can unlock content from the passes and what is included in the overall pass. They mostly consist of cosmetics for multiplayer games that allow the player to express themselves without disturbing the over all balance of the game for those who abstain from the season pass.

Right column shows all the goodies that are included in this specific Season Pass for Modern Warfare 2.

Fortnite, Call Of Duty: Warzone, and Marvel Snap all use this format and to popular acclaim and success. The issue is that this doesn’t work as well for single player games. Many gamers scoff or roll their eyes when they find out single-player games have season passes because the majority of gamers are not going to be playing the game after they have finished it.

There Are Many Adaptations In The Pipeline/Closing Thoughts

Some of the most obvious successes of this format are The Witcher (Netflix series), Cyberpunk Edgerunners (Netflix), and now The Last Of Us (HBO). But how many more of these attempts can we expect? Well PlayStation has several other planned adaptations including:

  • Ghost Of Tsushima (film)
  • Gran Turismo (film)
  • God Of War (TV series)
  • Twisted Metal (TV series)
  • The Last Of Us (TV series)
  • Horizon Zero Dawn (TV series)
  • Days Gone (Film)
  • Uncharted (Film)
  • and more…

IGN even has a broader list that includes other franchises across the gaming spectrum that you can read about as well!

What do you guys think about this synergy strategy of games complimenting film and tv and vice versa? Be sure to sound off in the comments, I love reading your thoughts. If you love gaming news and content be sure to check out my gaming centric podcast, DuoSense right here. As always stay geeky out there folks!

 

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