By Marta Monellini, Marketing and Communications Assistant
From Hogwarts to Hyrule – the entertainment industry has a new king!
Until last week Hogwarts Legacy held the crown for the biggest boxed video game release of 2023, despite active boycott pledges and controversy. However, on Friday, Nintendo released Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, bringing the crown home from Hogwarts to Hyrule and becoming the second-biggest Nintendo launch in UK history.
For many avid Zelda fans, the thought that anything could beat Breath of the Wild (Zelda’s previous chapter in the saga and currently the best game of all time according to IGN) seemed impossible. However, the early data from sales, critics’ scores, and digital downloads for Tears of the Kingdom are setting a precedent for greatness, one on track to beat multiple records within not only Nintendo’s world but the rest of the gaming industry.
As the review embargo lifted and sales data started to circulate, it became clear that the new installation of the Zelda franchise is more than just a sequel, surpassing its award-winning predecessor for week one physical copy sales.
The critics are also raving about it – with the most significant being a staggering 100 score on Opencritic, which gives Tears of the Kingdom their top prize for best game of all time.
Somehow, Tears of the Kingdom does the impossible and makes Breath of the Wild feel like a proof of concept.Alana Hagues, NintendoLife
Why is it important to look at gaming data?
According to The Economist’s Tom Wainwright, video games are moving from teenage distraction to a universal pastime following, if not exceeding, the path of other mass media, with a worldwide majority of users aged between 35-44 years old.
COVID-19 played a factor in this shift. While some people turned to bread making, others turned to video games. Since then, the gaming industry has seen steady growth with a $100 million growth YoY. Last year alone, a staggering 3.2 billion people were reported to have played video games!
When comparing these figures to other entertainment categories, together with data obtained from sales and overall spending on digital gaming, the results show that this form of entertainment which was once considered geeky and childish is currently on par with television consumption.
If these trends continue, data predicts that by 2026 gaming will expand faster than any other category and become the world’s #1 form of entertainment.
Those who don’t play video games also seem to agree and understand why data shows this growing trend. In fact, even as a non-gamer, I still watch my boyfriend play hours and hours of video games, which easily account for one of the most prominent forms of entertainment in my household. As a “passive gamer” I get emotionally involved in the storylines, I participate in combat as a first assistant, and I get emotional when Link glides through the sky of Hyrule.
The interactive consumption of video games could also be another critical piece of data to demonstrate the growth of gaming as a mass media and its potential reign.
What can data tell us about the future of gaming?
With improvements in technology and special effects, video game makers are exploring more extensive and better techniques to make their products more realistic and epic, drawing the lines between the film business and digital games closer and closer.
Data shows that given their similar skill set, budgets, and consumer share, merging the two industries to complement each other, rather than two separate entities who alienate themselves, could be the future of entertainment.
There’s a lot of crossovers now with these various labour markets…the skill set is very interchangeableAsad Qizilbash, head of PlayStation
To back this up, we can look at data from recent successes where the two industries merged:
- The critically acclaimed HBO adaptation of Naughty Dog’ The Last of Us
- The Super Mario Bros Movie which after four weekends in a row at the top of the charts has now reached an outstanding 1.2billion at the box office, and is the 5th highest grossing animated movie of all time
- The superb acting and facial animation of God of War, which has now officially began production for an exclusive Amazon Prime TV show
- The Netflix original Witcher, which will shortly reprise with a brand new season in the summer
- The award-winning storytelling from R.R.martin, creator of Game of Thrones, for the best game of 2022, Elden Ring.
The synergy between the two industries cannot be denied. Even the creators of our star of the week Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, have hinted at a potential TV adaptation of the record-breaking franchise after seeing the enormous successes of Nintendo’s number-one-selling iconic Italian plumber’s movie.
The entertainment industry is undoubtedly changing; valuable data from consumer trends will keep guiding us toward the next phase of mass media consumption.
Will it be a next-gen category of entertainment products that combines the best parts of two powerful industries into a unique world of endless possibilities and imagination? Or a total dominion of digital gaming, where movies and TV are traded for 50+ hours of gameplay with masterpieces like Tears of the Kingdom?