Popular sports often have a comparable successful video game adaptation. On the surface, it may appear sports popularity clearly influence the success of the video. However, a deeper look may see a reverse effect depending on the sport in question, or even a more symbiotic relationship.
Video Games Shaping Sports
Correlation, not a causation
When taking a look at the unprecedented success of a series like FIFA, it’s easy assume a direct correlation with the popularity of a sport. Moreover, the assumption may be a safe and or correct one.
It is undeniable that there is a noticeable correlation between the popularity of a sport and its respective video game adaptation. In fact, it seems as though you could almost guess the popularity of a sport based on the success of its video game counterpart with a reasonable degree of accuracy.
I mean, how many of you have played a video game around a billiards tournament? The closest thing to a video game would be a mini billiards table for kids, so the answer is likely not all too high.
However, it is important to note that this is a correlation, not causation. In truth, it is more likely to be the other way around – the popularity of a sport has an overwhelming effect on the success of its video-game adaption.
It Certainly Does Have An Impact
While it is unlikely that video game adaptations determine the popularity of sports, that’s not to say that they do not have any impact at all. Certain video-game franchises have increased the popularity of sports astronomically, and millions of new fans have been brought in through this pipeline.
Sports like football, basketball, and F1 have undoubtedly been affected by their respective video-game franchises. While it may look like video-game adaptations have the ability to shape and mold the sports industry as they please, it may not be true for all. A prime example is the decline in the WWE 2K series. While WWE has reported record profits in the past two years, the game franchise itself has seen a consistent decline year over year.
No doubt video game adaptations definitely supplement the popularity of some sports, especially in this recent quarantine environment, and many people attribute their fondness for a sport with a video game adaption.
However, it is incredibly likely that the sports industry would look identical to its current self even without the addition of popular sports-game franchises like FIFA or NBA 2K, and in the grand scheme of things, it looks as if they made very little difference in terms of relative popularity.
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