Video games shape the way we experience sport

Popular sports often have a comparable successful video game adaptation. At first glance, it may seem that the popularity of the sport clearly influences the success of the video. However, a closer look can see an opposite effect depending on the sport in question, or even a more symbiotic relationship.

Video games shape sports

Correlation, not causation

When you look at the unprecedented success of a series like Fifa, it is easy to assume a direct correlation with the popularity of a sport. Moreover, the hypothesis may be safe and/or correct.

It is undeniable that there is a notable correlation between the popularity of a sport and its respective adaptation into a video game. In fact, it seems like you can almost guess a sport’s popularity 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 pool tournament? The closest thing to a video game would be a mini billiards for children, so the answer is probably not too high.

However, it is important to note that this is correlation and not causation. In truth, it’s more likely to be the other way around – the popularity of a sport has an overwhelming effect on the success of its video game adaptation.

It certainly has an impact

While video game adaptations are unlikely to determine the popularity of sports, that doesn’t mean they have no impact. Some 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 might seem like video game adaptations have the ability to mold and shape the sports industry to their liking, that might not be true for everyone. A prime example is the decline of WWE 2K series. While WWE has posted record profits for the past two years, the gaming franchise itself has seen a steady year-over-year decline.

There’s no doubt that video game adaptations definitely supplement the popularity of certain sports, especially in this recent quarantine environment, and many people attribute their fondness for a sport to a video game adaptation.

However, it is extremely likely that the sports industry would look identical to itself even without the addition of popular sports game franchises like Fifa Where NBA 2Kand in the grand scheme of things, it seems they made very little difference in terms of relative popularity.

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Carolyn M. Daniel