Decline in Vid Game Adaptation of Films

By Robert Marich
   June 15, 2010—Video game software companies are backing away from adaptations of theatrical films because of short timelines in Hollywood and poor sales of movie titles, says the Los Angeles Times. Game adaptations require rushed production, which has resulted in a reputation among gamers of mediocre game play for movie-based titles.
   In 2008, 19 video games based on new movies were released,” says the article by Ben Fritz. “Last year, there were 15. This year, 11. So far only four games based on movies have been announced for 2011, though at least four more are expected. Such 2010 summer popcorn movies as Robin Hood, The A-Team, Knight & Day, Inception, and Salt probably would have had video games in the past but are going without them this year.”
   One problem is it takes one to two years to produce a high end video game, while major-studio movies require just 18-24 months to from greenlight to the cinema screen. So game adaptations started even when films are picked up are rushed and any waiting creates more production problems.
   Marketing to Moviegoers: Second Edition notes that multi-milion dollar payoffs licensing movies for video games have made games a top source of merchandise money and promotional push, passing music soundtrack albums. But the Los Angeles Times article suggests those payoffs are going to fewer movies.
   Movie games are becoming less popular as consumers are demanding when they pay $60 for console game cartridges and have plenty of non-movie titles to chose from.
   “Although there was no game to go with 2008’s The Dark Knight, last year's well-received Batman game Arkham Asylum by Eidos Interactive Ltd. sold a respectable 3.2 million units,” says the Los Angeles Times article. “That’s more than Ubisoft Entertainment’s poorly reviewed Avatar game, even though it came out simultaneously with the blockbuster film that grossed $2.7 billion.”
   The Los Angeles Times article adds that an exception are adaptations of kids films, because children are less demanding of game play and tend to spend freely on merchandise of favorite movies.
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