The video game and TV industries are both extremely popular, successful and influential. Each one has had and continues to have, a significant impact on society, with billions of us watching shows and playing games every day. The two industries employ huge numbers of people around the world and have enjoyed steady growth over recent years. While they’re similar in that they’re all about digital, screen-based content, they’re also quite different, with TV shows offering both factual and entertaining content and video games focusing on the entertainment side of things.
The two industries are very close, and there are quite a few ways in which they depend on each other. We’ll have a look at some of them in this article.
Video Games Based on TV Shows
One of the main ways in which these two industries depend on each other is when you have a video game themed to a popular TV show. Though video game developers are more than capable of coming up with fresh, original ideas for their games, there will always be branded games themed to IPs (intellectual properties) because these are seen as being more appealing to potential buyers. A video game themed to a TV show can help turn a show into a franchise, extending its reach and offering new ways for the show’s world and characters to be received by people at home.
There are lots of well-known TV shows that have had video games themed to them. Some have been better received by fans and critics than others, though lots of them have achieved a decent enough amount of commercial success despite how they’ve been reviewed critically. Games themed to TV shows come in all sorts of genres and have many different features – this should come as no surprise, given how diverse and varied TV shows can be.
Some examples of video games themed to TV shows include South Park: The Stick Of Truth, The Walking Dead: The Game, The Simpsons: Hit & Run, Battlestar Galactica: Deadlock and Game of Thrones, to name a few. TV-themed games can be found even in the online gambling industry, usually in video slot games. Players can choose from the wide range of free pokies Aristocrat, Play’n GO, IGT and a lot of other software developers provide. Some shows have just a single game associated with them, while others have quite a few. The Simpsons, for example, has had some 27 video games released to date, covering everything from racers and platform games, to action role-playing games and city builders.
TV Shows Based on Video Games
Conversely, you have some TV shows based on ideas that started out as video games. If a video game is particularly successful, and there’s enough material to create a TV show from it, there’s a good chance of that happening, especially if it’s believed to be enough demand. Having a TV show can draw more people into the franchise and encourage them to start playing video games. Most of the TV shows based on video games are animated. This is to be expected, what with video games themselves being animated forms of digital content.
There are plenty of examples of TV shows that are themed to successful video games.
- Pokemon: A great example is Pokemon anime. It started in April 1997 and is still running to this day, with over 1,121 episodes having been aired. It’s widely regarded as one of the world’s most successful cartoon series and has been credited with encouraging western audiences to watch more Japanese anime shows.
Castlevania: Other examples of TV shows that have been developed from video games include Castlevania on Netflix (three series have aired and a fourth has been announced) and a range of series and shows themed to the Angry Birds games.
Lots of video games these days, especially big-name titles that are part of an ongoing series, have very large budgets. Some, in fact, can cost over $100 million. When video games are made, a significant part of the budget goes towards marketing costs. One of the ways games are promoted is through TV. Ads are usually cinema-style trailers showcasing some footage from the game and giving players a glimpse of what it’s like. While ads are the main way to let viewers at home know about new releases, there are TV shows themselves. Many of them indirectly promote video games by having characters play them or having them as competition prizes, or even just by mentioning them every now and then.
Though some people have stopped watching traditional TV in favour of more immediate, on-demand content, such as streaming and the internet, many big-name games are still promoted through ads that run during TV show breaks. As well as the latest games, TV can be a very useful way of promoting new consoles and other pieces of gaming equipment. Companies are known to spend quite hefty sums of money on promoting their latest console or game in order to give it a chance of breaking even and eventually making a profit.
It’s worth pointing out that promotion on TV was a key way of video games and consoles reaching the masses. However, in recent years advertising has gradually shifted online. There’s still a significant amount of promotion being done on TV, though it’s noticeably not as prevalent as it would have been a few decades ago. Still, the video game industry relies on TV as one of its main promotional vehicles.
Smart TVs keep on getting more advanced and powerful. The number of things they can do is constantly getting bigger, and the number of things they can’t do continues to decrease. Of course, smart TVs are now vital for the TV industry as people want the home viewing experience to be as good as it can be. People want to watch their favourite shows on big screens with high-definition graphics. They want the viewing experience they get at home to be just as good as, if not better than, the one they get when watching a movie at a cinema.
Smart TVs are more than just a way of watching TV. They’re entertainment hubs that allow us to engage with so much more content than the average TV from a decade ago, for example, could offer. They don’t just offer access to main TV channels, they also let you watch a growing number of streaming platforms, access the internet and even play video games. Using the remote control or even your smartphone, you can play a select number of gaming apps and even some console games without actually having to own a console. Some smart TVs enable you to play a selection of PlayStation 3 games – if you’ve got the controllers, you can use them to play with; if not, you can simply use your phone as a controller instead.
While some smart TVs support video games, many gaming consoles support downloads of TV streaming platforms. If your TV doesn’t have Netflix, a gaming console you purchase might well give you access to Netflix and let you watch its content through your TV. What this shows is that the TV and video game industries are trying to benefit from each other’s customers. They’re no longer completely separate entities. Nowadays, it’s increasingly common for home TVs to offer not just TV shows, but many different forms of entertainment, video games being one of them.
One of the main similarities between video games and TV industries is the fact that they rely on creating digital content. A key similarity is between animated shows and video games, though live action shows still have things in common with video games. Many people who work in one industry are proficient at working in the other. Video games require all sorts of jobs, from creative designers and technical developers to financial professionals and acting talent and everything in between. TV shows also require similar sorts of roles.
The two industries rely on each other in a way because many people end up working in both of them across their careers. In other words, they benefit from something of a shared workforce. People who work in one industry find that their skills are transferable, and they can easily move across and gain a role in the other.
We love watching TV shows and playing video games. Though the two may seem like completely separate activities, they’re actually similar in quite a few ways. They’re both massive industries that have had a huge impact on the way we live our lives and continue to do so to this day, generating huge amounts of money and employing large numbers of people all over the world. The two industries do depend on each other in some ways, though they’re both strong enough that they could no doubt stand on their own.
Check out some video games based on hit TV shows, or start watching a series that’s inspired by a popular video game series. You’ll find that there are lots of big-name franchises that have shows and video games available to watch and play.