Anzu

Anzu is an in-game advertising platform that brings real-world brand advertising inside video games and esports.

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Gaming and movies are fusing more than ever - here's how advertisers can capitalize

by Kirsten Cresswell

September 6, 2022

Curious to know why you're starting to see more video gaming franchise crossovers with TV and film than ever? Neil Pummell, UK sales director at Anzu.io, shares why this is, and how advertisers can benefit from the blending of video games with other media.

Since the 1990s, gaming has seen a resurgence in popular culture — and not just within video games.

From the (admittedly a bit rubbish) likes of the live-action Super Mario Bros movie in 1993, to the more recent Sonic The Hedgehog and Uncharted movies from the massively popular Sega and Ubisoft gaming franchises, gaming is leveling up from small screens to silver screens at a rapid rate.

Over the past three decades, there have been 44 live-action movie adaptations from gaming franchises, ranging from Pokémon with Detective Pikachu to Lara Croft. And that’s not even including animated movies, direct-to-video, or non-English language releases.

MultiVersus is a crossover fighting game featuring much-loved characters from across the Warner Bros universe, from Bugs Bunny to Steven Universe

The merge of mediums — gaming vs. the world

Want further proof of the continued merging of gaming, TV, and film? Warner Bros’ MultiVersus, featuring TV and film characters, recently took the top spot from Elden Ring as the highest-grossing game in July, continuing the trend of free-to-play titles like Call Of Duty: Warzone, Fortnite, and Fall Guys topping the charts.

It’s not just Warner Bros using their gaming offering across multiple different entertainment platforms, either. Embracer Group recently announced their acquisition of the Lord of the Rings IP (coming just months after their acquisition of the popular Lara Croft franchise from Square Enix), and has teased that its looking to leverage gaming in a big way in their future business ventures.

Lara Croft over the years: from the original 1996 video game, to the 2001 movie adaptation with Angelina Jolie, and re-emerging in gaming with the latest Square Enix titles

The upcoming D23 Expo — Disney’s official fan exhibition event — will also tease how Disney will leverage their film and TV IPs (including Marvel, Star Wars and Pixar) to create more games. Given the success of the likes of Lego Star Wars and Jedi: Fallen Order, it will be intriguing to see what next steps and collaborations Disney will use to build their next gaming blockbuster.

Gamers want more gaming content...beyond games

Just as TV and films have influenced gaming in the last few decades, we are now starting to see new movies and shows created through a video gaming lens. League of Legends, the fourth most popular PC game with over 100 million monthly players, saw rise to its critically-acclaimed Netflix spinoff series — Arcane — becoming a firm favorite with fans and achieving a 96% rating on review site Rotten Tomatoes.

Riot Games’ president Marc Merrill will be joining Anzu’s CEO and co-founder Itamar Benedy to discuss Riot Games’ moves into Netflix and beyond later in September — you can join them here.

Gaming is blurring the lines between TV and film — so what?

You wouldn’t call yourself a “TV or film viewer,” would you? Ditto for video games. As gaming has moved into the mainstream — from 2 billion gamers in 2015 to an estimated 3.24 billion gamers today — there will come a day where the term “gamer” will become outdated and obsolete. Gaming is already well on its way to becoming an integral part of our global cultural fabric, and its necessary for the advertising industry to follow suit, much as it has for the big screen.

As gaming, TV, and film continue to grow closer, advertisers can take advantage of cross-platform advertising in a whole new refreshing light. Unlike TV and films, where the ads are passive, gaming offers advertisers the opportunity to reach consumers in unexpected and innovative ways, allowing them to truly experience brands rather than just hear from them.

Take the Avengers franchise, for example, which has taken the world by storm (no small thanks to the Marvel and Disney powerhouses joining forces). Picture seeing a new pair of Nike sneakers while waiting for your favorite Avengers spin-off on Disney+, before being able to try them on your Roblox avatar in a sponsored Roblox experience. Advertisers 50 years ago could only dream of such an opportunity to reach audiences — just think what the next 50 years could do.

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is a prime example of the crossover between TV and gaming, with its choose-your-own-adventure format making every choice count that the viewer made, no matter how trivial it seemed at first glance.

The story is certainly not over in the crossover between TV, film and gaming. Just imagine if these mediums grow even closer, enhancing the transmedia experience for a whole new generation of consumers. Experiences like Black Mirror: Bandersnatch on Netflix, a choose-your-own-adventure format where viewers chose which narrative would pan out over the course of the show, are arguably gamified TV shows.

Netflix has also been leading the charge to converge gaming and TV in more exciting ways with its venture into mobile games via their mobile app. It’s possible that the entertainment giant will start experimenting with more hybrid gaming and shows — will we see a merge between Riot Games’ Arcane and Wild Rift IPs, we wonder? — as well as looking towards the metaverse. More opportunities exist now in the metaverse than ever before, from TV shows airing in Roblox to film festivals featuring on Fortnite. Entertainment is set on a trajectory to grow even closer, opening up far more exciting opportunities for brands.

Interested to hear more thoughts on the merging of gaming and TV/film mediums in future? Join us for an interview with Marc Merrill (president of Riot Games) over at anzu.io.

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Gaming
Gaming Advertising
gaming industry