21st April 2020 And the Oscar for best game goes to…

As gaming increases its grip on the entertainment industry, some of the biggest blockbusters now come out of developer studios, rather than the Hollywood Hills.

Movies and videogames have always been linked. Since the days of the Sega Mega Drive, many have owned a video game based on the latest cinema release. However, as gaming’s effect on consumers grows, many ‘blockbusters’ are no longer originating in Hollywood.

Game changer

The idea of basing movies on videogames is nothing new – Angelina Jolie first immortalised Tomb Raider’s Lara Croft back in 2001. Since then, all manner of games have received the Hollywood treatment: from family favourites like Pokémon’s Detective Pikachu, to adventure epics based on the likes of Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed franchise. Though not based on one singular title, Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph successfully mixed an original story and characters – clearly inspired by gaming commonplaces – with a cast of familiar cameos from game franchises such as Pac-Mac, Super Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog and many more.

However, are the movies becoming an antiquated pastime? The ‘free-to-play’ behemoth Fortnite cannot have its screen-based pop-culture impact overstated.

In 2019, streaming colossus Netflix candidly told shareholders that in the competition for US screen time, Fortnite is more of a danger to them than mainstream TV networks or fellow streaming services such as HBO and Hulu.

The ‘Blockbuster Game’

The equivalent of a traditional movie blockbuster, Triple-A (AAA) games are those with substantial budgets and corporate backing. They receive substantial hype and media attention, usually doing well on release. Triple-A games are often praised for technical prowess, with great graphics, audio and design. Recent AAA games, such as Red Dead Redemption 2, have been celebrated by critics and gamers alike for the quality of the stories, often supported by a band of compelling characters.

Massive budgets are often a key part of the hype around AAA games. Destiny, released for Xbox and PlayStation in 2014, holds the title for not only the most expensive game in the industry’s history, but with a budget of $500 million, the priciest entertainment entity in existence.

In comparison, 2011’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is the most expensive movie ever made. Adjusted for inflation, this movie had a miserly budget of just $410.6 million – peanuts.

Bringing in more than $6 billion in the first 5 years (an estimated $1 billion being in ‘micropayments’ during gameplay), it is projected that Grand Theft Auto V‘s profits place it ahead of any of the highest grossing films, even when accounting for DVD sales and inflation.

The phrase ‘Triple-A’ indicates a major development, backing from a major publisher. That said, independent “indie” developers are increasing development and marketing budgets and creating ‘Triple-I’ games, with impact that can resonate just as far. For example, the popular indie game The Witcher was originally based on a collection of Polish novels, but has now been picked up by Netflix, with the first season of the eponymous series released in December 2019.

With the lucrative nature of Triple-A “blockbuster” games, the movie industry is, quite probably, quaking in its ruby slippers. Exertis offers a wide variety of Triple-A and Triple-I titles from a range of developers.

Speak to your Exertis account manager today to learn more about stocking these, and more, great blockbusting titles.

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