A ‘Euphoria’ Video Game Would Be a Big Hit With New TV-to-Gaming ‘Switcher’ Audience, Fandom Study Finds

A video game based on HBO’s dark teen drama “Euphoria” is a key suggestion from this year’s edition of Fandom’s Inside Entertainment study, which highlights the “entertainment and gaming tug of war.”

Per the user-contented-centric entertainment platform’s 2024 survey, which was released Monday, drama is potentially the top “untapped” genre for gaming companies, as drama fans who play video games prefer these genres: role-playing (RPG): 73%, adventure: 72%, simulation: 62%, sandbox/open world: 62%, puzzle: 60%.

More from Variety

“What do we know about ‘Euphoria’ and why was it such a big hit? Obviously, you have an amazing cast, storyline — but what is the story? And it was a really interesting take on the genre at the time, because if you think about the other shows that were coming out, they are a lot more positive than ‘Euphoria,'” Fandom’s director of sales research and insights Ali Saraniti told Variety. “So it really entered in this darker look at what’s happening in the YA drama space. Looking at the building blocks of that — there’s the psychological element, the horror, there’s group dynamics and understanding what the different plays between the different characters are — that still exists in gaming. So if you want to reach that ‘switcher’ audience who is moving back and forth from entertainment and gaming, don’t just advertise around all gaming. Don’t just do takeovers of all gaming or try and blanket target gamers, because we have the data now to understand which parts of the gaming ecosystem are actually resonating with this audience and why.”

According to Fandom’s study, which was based on a survey of 5,500 entertainment and gaming fans aged 13-54, that “switcher” term refers to consumers who are shifting away from watching movies and binging TV shows in their free time to do other activities, including social media (47%), reading (56%) and hobbies (37%).

However, the study also shows that the top activity that gamers turn to when taking a break from gaming is watching TV and movies. Fandom’s research suggests “these industries are inevitably intertwined and could benefit from joint endeavors or conquest/win-back strategies.”

“There are shows like ‘American Idol,’ which make people feel competitive or community — but there’s elements of gaming there, in terms of the adrenaline rush and the interactivity and things, that probably aren’t going to be part of a compelling television experience,” Fandom chief marketing officer Stephanie Fried said. “We’re not going to say everything in TV should be a choose-your-own-adventure so that people are doing things while they watch a television show. What we will say though, is that where there are those links, in terms of the things that both of the TV show and a game do, that’s what I would think of as a bridge so that when audiences do make that switch, that connection is clear as to why they should be switching to you and your thing. We have elements like the player control, the achievement, the interactivity on the gaming side, and on the entertainment side, it’s having this experience of escapism, nostalgia, accessibility. And with companies, we want the, focusing on the branch pieces, because when audiences are switching, it’s about how do you lean in on the shared components.”

See below for additional findings from Fandom’s 2024 Inside Entertainment study, with data points in Fandom’s own words:

  • 67% of fans are spending the same or more time consuming content or playing video games, but their behavior is shifting:

    • 33% are spending less time on cable or in theaters – and the number one activity they’re switching to is gaming (59%)

  • Switchers’ refers to the audience moving away from watching movies & binging TV shows in their free time to do other activities. Outside of gaming, switchers are also spending time:

    • On social media (47%), reading (56%) and doing hobbies (37%)

    • With 56% of the switcher audience spending time reading, it presents an opportunity to re-engage this audience and pull them back into the ecosystem with new content strategies, like book-to-game or book-to-film cross over adaptations

  • But don’t worry entertainment companies. Just as gaming is the #1 activity for entertainment fans, watching TV and movies is the #1 activity gamers turn to when taking a break from gaming – which means these industries are inevitably intertwined and could benefit from joint endeavors or conquest/win-back strategies 

  • Drama could be #1 untapped genre for gaming companies to explore when looking for their next big hit. Our data uncovers that drama fans who also game gravitate towards genres like:

    • Role-Playing (RPG): 73%

    • Adventure: 72%,

    • Simulation: 62%,

    • Sandbox/Open World: 62%,

    • Puzzle: 60%

  • Gaming wins on super serving the emotional needs of fans, identifying a niche area streamers & studios should not only be aware of – but double down on:

    • 82% of gamers think video games are more interactive & engaging than movies and TV

    • 59% feel more accomplished when playing a video game

    • 53% like that they have more control in the story when playing video games

    • 45% feel more invested in the storylines in video games

Top 3 Takeaways For Advertisers and Marketers

  1. Gaming is a Friend vs. a Foe

  • Despite common misconceptions, there is a true symbiotic relationship between the gaming and entertainment industries – they both serve different emotional needs for fans and can actually complement each other – with the right fan strategy.

  • Therefore, if studios, networks and streaming companies cater to the distinct emotional desires of their specific audiences, they can successfully influence a fan’s choice between mediums and content types and build out a more robust conquest strategy for both retention and acquisition.

  1. Sway the Switchers

  • Switchers are the audience entertainment companies should be first and foremost targeting in this “tug of war” to capture fan attention, because switching to watching TV & movies is the first activity gamers engage in after they stop playing. This underscores the importance for entertainment companies to develop strategies that resonate with these “switchers.”

  1. Find your Niche

  • With the growing intersection between gaming and entertainment, it’s crucial for studios, networks, and streamers to align on a gaming strategy that drives viewer engagement and retention.

  • While many entertainment companies know they need a focus on gaming to drive their business forward – how and where are often barriers. Developing a gaming-specific fan strategy by finding niche pockets  in the vast ecosystem – like targeting drama fans or creating book adaptations – is key for reaching a high affinity target at scale.

➔ Teens are slightly less likely to be switchers but +34% more likely to say they barely engage with entertainment
➔ 25-44 year olds are +61% more likely to be switchers away from entertainment
➔ *Gen Z is average
Switcher Activities: When people turn away from entertainment, they are more likely to….
➔ Teens (+13%) and 35-44 (+18%) are more likely to play games (older audiences can include those who are co-gaming with this kids)
➔ Teens are +74% more likely to to switch to social media
➔ 18-24 year olds are +81% more likely to be studying or focusing on education
➔ 25-34 year olds are +22% more likely to take on new hobbies

Switcher Activities: When people turn away from gaming, they are more likely to….
➔ Teens are (+33%) more likely to go on social media and 27% more likely to look for another video game to play
➔ Gen Z is +59% more likely to lean into be studying or focusing on education
➔ 25-44 year olds (+22%) are most likely to switch back to entertainment

Gaming Emotions and Motivators: Switchers
➔ Teens are more likely to game as a sense of accomplishment (+29%) and for control (+27%)
➔ 25-34 year olds feel a stronger connection to the characters (+62%) and storylines (+39%)
➔ 45-54 year olds find that gaming is a better way to connect and spend time with their children(+91%)

Gaming Genres: Among Switchers:
➔ Teens are more likely to play sports (+89%), fighting (+57%) and Battle Royale (+54%) games
➔ Gen Z is more likely to play Racing (+34), Platform (+29%) and Fighting (+15%)
➔ 45-54 year olds are more likely to play sports games (+25%)

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.