How the Video Games Industry is Turning a Corner on Branded Titles

Gaming, News

One of the longest running jokes in the gaming industry is that crossover video games typically aren’t great. The list of the worst video games based on movies, put together by, is full of illustrious movie properties including Austin Powers, Space Jam and The Smurfs.


All of these movies and franchises are hugely successful on the big screen, but their interactive adaptations have been critically panned and have sold miserably because of it. However, while the games industry hasn’t entirely managed to shake the reputation of bad tie-ins, it does appear to have turned a corner.

Why Do Publishers Make Games Based on Popular Brands?


Video game developers and publishers tend to make movie tie-in games because it seems like easy money. When adjusted for inflation, the Austin Powers franchise has made more than $803 million at the global box office, per Space Jam and The Smurfs have also made several hundred million dollars between them.

With thousands (if not millions) of fans eager to engage and interact with their favourite franchises, the idea is that many of them will want to spend money on a movie tie-in video game. Likewise, it also helps movie studios to increase the reach of their film properties, as such titles can be helpful in attracting new fans. From a business perspective, tie-ins make sense, but the end product hasn’t always been great.

Are Branded Games Now Good?

The running joke of bad movie tie-ins still exists, but branded games may finally be good. There is a growing list of examples of good game/movie crossovers that successfully incorporate themes of the film and entertain fans.

On, some of the most popular and well-reviewed slot games are games based on movies. The Tomb Raider: Secret of the Sword slot game includes symbols themed around Lara’s adventures, while the Jurassic Park slot’s use of dinosaur roars makes for a thrilling slot game experience.


There are also tie-in video games that mix original ideas and movie franchises together in a way that, surprisingly, works very well. reports that Kingdom Hearts 3, a game that combines fantasy gameplay with Disney franchises like Frozen and Monsters, Inc., was one of the best-selling (and best-reviewed) games of January 2019.

Why Have Branded Games Turned a Corner?

The biggest reason that branded games have turned a corner is likely because of the demand from fans. Because of social media, YouTube videos and fan-made media and memes, fans are now interacting with their favourite franchises for longer, talking about them even when a new film hasn’t been released. Video games are part of this interaction and they could be lucrative – if they provide quality entertainment.

Lessons have also been learned from the previous, poor attempts of tie-in games and this has been applied to modern releases. Developers now know what fans want and are able to create it.

Fans appreciate the effort that has been put into making tie-ins a higher quality than they once were. Fans, game developers, and movie studios are happy.

Tech Digest Correspondent
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