Entertainment

Video Game Adaptations Have a Poor Track Record. Gamers Want More Anyway

Ahead of next year’s “Halo” TV series and “Uncharted” movie, interest in game adaptations is highest among millennials and Gen Zers

Roughly 7 in 10 avid gamers said they are interested in film, TV or book series based on their favorite games, according to new Morning Consult data. (Morning Consult artwork by Kelly Rice)

The State of Gaming

In the State of Gaming series, Morning Consult takes a closer look at the $200 billion global video game industry, polling gamers in the United States on their playing and spending preferences. The stories provide a snapshot of the average U.S. gamer, revealing what type of games they like to play (and how they like to play them), as well as what they think of some of the industry’s biggest brands. As gaming only grows bigger, understanding gamers’ habits will be critical in determining where the industry might be headed.

Other stories in the State of Gaming: Console Is Still King: Most Young and Avid Gamers Use Consoles Despite Next-Gen Scarcity | EA, Rockstar Best at Capturing Gamers’ Interest | The Subscription Economy Has Officially Infiltrated Gaming

For reasons critics can’t agree on, film adaptations of video games often miss the mark. But that hasn’t stopped Hollywood from making them or gamers from clamoring for more. A new Morning Consult poll reveals there’s still plenty of business upside in producing these adaptations, finding that a clear majority of gamers are interested in seeing their favorite game franchises translated to TV and film.

Despite Bad Reviews and Box-Office Bombs, Gamers Still Want Film, TV Versions of Favorite Games

Respondents were asked if they are interested in film, TV or book adaptations of their favorite video games

Poll conducted Oct. 12-15, 2021, among 1,604 U.S. adults who play video games, with a margin of error of +/- 2%. Figures may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

What the numbers say 

  • Three in 5 adults who play video games said they are interested in film, TV or book series based on their favorite games. The share of avid gamers, those who play video games for at least seven hours per week, interested in such adaptations climbed to 69 percent. 
  • Interest was highest among millennial (77 percent) and Gen Z (74 percent) gamers.  Baby boomers were least enthusiastic about adaptations: 56 percent said they were not interested. 

The impact 

Hollywood continues to search for new sources of intellectual property to fill up their streaming libraries. While adapting video games isn’t new, expect to see a lot more — including the “Uncharted” film and the “Sonic the Hedgehog” sequel — in the coming years. HBO Max will also release a TV series based on “The Last of Us,” while Paramount+’s long-awaited “Halo” TV adaptation is finally set to stream in 2022. 

Given how many recent video game adaptations have either bombed at the box office or failed to impress critics, gamers would have reason to be skeptical of Hollywood’s attempts to cash in on their beloved games. But they don’t appear to hold those failures against the film industry. The poll shows gamers aren’t especially precious or territorial over their games, further proving the undeniable power of familiar intellectual property.

The survey was conducted Oct. 12-15, 2021, among 1,604 U.S. adults who say they play video games, with a margin of error of 2 percentage points.

Morning Consult