Gavin Baker+ Your Authors @GavinSBaker Husband, Becky Painter. CIO, Atreides Management. Former PM, Fidelity OTC fund. No investment advice, views all my own. Dec. 31, 2019 2 min read + Your Authors

1) Witcher 3 hit all time highs for concurrent players and #1 in sales on Steam. Absolutely unprecedented for a single player game 4 years post launch @BenjiSales.

Also the first time I have seen a film/TV adaptation help - rather than hurt - a videogame. Some thoughts:

2) Core videogame investing principle for me is that it is *always* a mistake to try to make a game more accessible; to try to attract more casuals. Success of the Witcher makes me think same principle applies to film/TV adaptations. It is faithful to the books and the game.

3) The changes to make a game more “casual friendly” inevitably enrage the hardcore player base and the resultant negativity on social media generally ends up with the changes backfiring, the player base shrinking, the devs apologizing.

4) The way to make a videogame bigger is not to attract more casuals, but to create more hardcore players. Yet videogame co’s regularly try to make games more “accessible.”

Run for the hills. “Easy to play, hard to master” is really difficult to do in practice.

5) Some film/TV adaptations of videogames have strayed quite far from the original game in hopes of being more accessible (Prince of Persia). This upsets the player base, negativity ensues, film/TV adaptation fails. Prince of Persia was also just a terrible movie.

6) Or the videogame itself isn’t narrative driven (Warcraft) so the film/TV adaptation fails because of a lack of narrative coherence and structure. Assassins Creed likely could have succeeded were it not for a truly terrible screenplay.

7) The Witcher feels like watching a great RPG from a narrative perspective. Main quest, side quests, the player playing Geralt is clearly skilled, etc. So the players love it. And it is obviously faithful to the books as some episodes are explicitly based on short stories.

8) Film/TV adaptations like LOTR and GoT have helped the sales of the novels and the Witcher is no different with the author hovering around #1 on Amazon.

The impact on the game is what is different here. The original, 12 year old Witcher also just hit an all time player high!

9) So based on these principles I am looking forward to Mass Effect and Skyrim film/TV adaptations after this success - what else? @firstadopter

10) Also curious if the Witcher being the #1 streaming TV series of the year - above the Mandalorian and GoT per @parrotanalytics changes media company views on potential synergies with videogames. Thoughts? @ballmatthew @modestproposal1 

You can follow @GavinSBaker.


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