The Witcher‘s success may have begun in a book shop in Poland, but CD Projekt Red’s games made demand exponential for the Netflix series. So much so, it has added a new licensing metric for streaming services to consider.
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Chicken or the egg
This isn’t an argument about which made what popular. It is clear that the Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski created a masterpiece. Pre-2005, it is estimated that five million copies were sold in Eastern Europe (where it was localized).
By 2018, it was announced that CD Projekt Red had sold 40 million units of The Witcher game series — 20 million of which were the last in the series, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
What we can take away is that the popularity of the intellectual property grew with the game, and now with Netflix’s The Witcher series it has reached even greater heights.
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To put this demand into context, during the final week of Star Wars: The Mandalorian, The Witcher topped it. It had 127 million demand expressions, compared to The Mandalorian’s 115 million. Simply put, The Witcher became the most in-demand intellectual property in the world — for a short while at least.
To learn more about where these demand expressions are calculated, head to the Parrot Analytics website.
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Identifying internet demand
Knowing whether a series or movie will work before it hits the market is all about test groups. Yet, perhaps there is a better way to know whether adapting a book into a $100 million series will work. If a book sells, it doesn’t mean a good adaptation. If a game sells, it means engagement.
The big consideration is that the experience between book and screen are often massively different. The Witcher proves a book-to-game adaptation is a new data point to consider when licensing. If a book becomes a game and engages, there is a demand for it amongst a fickle and over-engaged audience. This stereotype is true for both gaming and streaming.
Considering Netflix uses data heavily to identify new shows, The Witcher success must drive the streaming giant to add a new metric when looking at licensing. It’s too obvious for them to miss.
The future of licensing
What we know is that The Witcher series was based on the books. Netflix made this clear. However, the internet is driven by fandom, and fans of the books are not as vocal or fanatical as gamers. This passionate audience determines whether a product is a hit or a miss. Word of mouth is infinitely more important than the words of a critic. So, not only is a book to game adaptation a new metric, but a popular game has viral upside built-in. It’s a win-win for streaming services and opens up an untapped well of possibilities. Expect something like, say, the Metro book series by Dmitriĭ Glukhovskiĭ to be snapped up soon.