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For as long as I’ve been working in the games industry, and honestly for a long time before that there’s been an ever present topic of conversation. Rachel Kaser, Dmitri Johnson, Ted Schilowitz and Maureen Fan got together at the GamesBeat Summit to talk about where video games and movies intersect.
Until recently, I was firmly in the camp that they didn’t. I’ve always been something of an originalist when it comes to different mediums. I like a good book. And good movies. I love a good game.
I don’t hate when a book gets adapted to film, but I can honestly say the end result never makes it to my favorites. Until very recently I’ve never thought a movie based on a video game was amazing.
A decade ago I’d have argued a movie based on a video game wasn’t good. But industries grow and change and evolve and now we’ve got things like the Sonic movie. Or a The Last of Us television series. My opinion is being forced to change too.
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“I think that ship has turned a little bit,” said Paramount Global’s Ted Schilowitz. “I think a lot of it is because the people responsible for understanding the lore and the love of the game itself have been given roles of responsibility within making that into a television show or a movie.”
But it isn’t all roses yet. There are some stellar examples of game adaptations now, but there’s a huge history of misses. There’s a lot of history in the games, film and television industries on how to do things, and sometimes it’s like oil and water.
“I think that there’s still really a long way to go, though,” said Baobab’s Maureen Fan. “I feel like the gaming industries and film industries do not fundamentally understand each other. For the last seven years of our existence it’s been trying to get the two teams to work well together.”
Games are more relevant than ever
Part of the problem is that Hollywood isn’t the singular juggernaut of the entertainment industry anymore, but it hasn’t fully recognized that as a fact yet. Globally the film industry’s annual revenue in 2022 was just under $77 billion. Television is estimated to hit $231 billion in revenue by 2024.
The games industry? The predictions are saying it will reach $384.9 billion in 2023.
Film isn’t the brightest star anymore. Television isn’t the shameful silver medal for actors and actresses who wouldn’t catch a big break. Gaming isn’t the new kid on the block.
“Our partners on the game side do not need you,” said Story Kitchen’s Dmitri Johnson. “The money that they will make … you’re not doing them a favor.”
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