Books, graphic novels, and video games aren’t always written with a movie in mind, but it seems that the end-goal is for the material to become a movie. Adaptations form a considerable portion of new movies in contemporary society. If it isn’t an adaptation then it is a sequel. People criticise this. They argue that there is little originality in it. Studios, though, continue to do it. They fill their slates with video game adaptations, book adaptations, graphic novel adaptations. Netflix is doing this right now. They have at least ten video game adaptations in production. They are committed to this kind of material. Why is that?

Netflix Advances on Yet Another Video Game Plotline -- But Why Netflix Advances on Yet Another Video Game Plotline -- But Why Photo: Unsplash

Netflix vs Hollywood

Netflix is a special case in the movie industry. They are a streaming service, like Amazon and Apple TV, which means they are not governed by box office. Whereas the likes of Universal, Paramount, and Warner Bros., among others, need to ensure that a film performs well and brings in more than its budget, at the very least, Netflix & co. are more interested in generating original content (not the movies and TV shows which they acquire the licences to after they’ve already been released) to attract new and keep subscribers.

In general, video game adaptations are helpful because they tend to have established fanbases already. Sometimes, like Witcher , it has been both a book and a video game – so there’s two mediums which have generated an audience. This pre-existing environment which the material lives in will give studios – traditional and streaming services – encouragement to take a risk in adapting the material as they are likely to at least appeal to core fans.

Legacy Games Suit Netflix

It’s well known that existing customers (or fans) are easier to sell to. Legacy is extremely valuable and businesses try to cultivate it quickly. Think, for instance, of online casinos. They often offer free spins or welcome bonuses ( for more information, click here ) to provide a quick and early bank for customers to use at their casino so they can try out games and invest themselves – both time and money (not their own initially) – into the site. Netflix is tapping into that with video game adaptations.

As alluded to above, they aren’t governed by box office performance so they are less worried about making that money back immediately. They can provide budgets which studios might be less willing to commit if they believe there’s scope. Of course, they don’t invest without thought. However, they have different performance indicators which aren’t reliant, per se, on seeing a film make a billion dollars over a theatrical run.

Games and Movies

Games and movies/TV shows have had a tangled history. Casino games and sports were depicted in scenes or formed the core of the narrative from pre-1940s cinema. In the 1990s, video games started to receive the movie treatment – screenwriters having to flesh out the story arcs because they were working from arcade fighters and adventure platforms which had little plot. Since then, video game adaptations became more standard practice, increasing in frequency across the big and small screen.

This isn’t a one way relationship, though. Movies inspire extensive books series, graphic novels, and video games. Gamers find appeal in the bonuses offered by casinos and the movie-inspired games (usually slots).

What is in Development

Currently in development at Netflix, in addition to films like Zack Snyder’s (a director who has had his fair share of experience in adapting graphic novel material) Army of the Dead ,    is the second season of Witcher  as well as a live-action TV prequel – Witcher: Blood Origin ; there’s two Resident Evil shows, one live-action and one animated; Assassin’s Creed  is receiving the live-action TV series treatment after the franchise’s film adaptation failed in 2016; rounding out the slate are Splinter Cell , Devil May Cry , and Final Fantasy  as TV and The Division  as the lone film release.