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What video game adaptations were Netflix viewers watching in 2023?

On 12 Dec this year, Netflix released viewing data for all of its titles with over 50,000 hours viewed for the first time ever. We looked at this data to see how Netflix viewers engaged with video game adaptations. 

Between Jan and Jun 2023, Netflix viewers watched a combined total of over one billion hours of video game adaptations, which is over 1% of all viewing on Netlix over these six months. Note that this is films and series based on video game properties and does not include the wider genre of properties about video games in some way, like Ready Player One or Sword Art Online. 

The single most-watched video game adaptation was Sonic Prime: Season 1, co-produced by SEGA of America and Netflix Animation. The 8-episode series clocked over 82 million hours viewed, making it the 138th most-watched offering on Netflix in the Jan-Jun period, having launched in Dec 2022. This is followed by three different season’s of Netflix’s own The Witcher adaptation with Pokémon: Indigo League rounding out the top 5. Indeed, Pokémon, The Witcher and Sonic the Hedgehog were the top three-most watched franchises with almost 646 million hours watched between them, nearly 64% of all video game adaptation viewing on Netflix. Other top-performing franchises were Resident Evil and Angry Birds. Pokémon has the highest number of adaptations available on Netflix, with a total of 30, while Resident Evil and the Fate series have 12 each. Resident Evil is notable as being the only video game franchise to have film and series adaptations in both live action and animation. 

Video game adaptation on Netflix are weighted towards animation and towards series, with animated series making up over half of all video game adaptation on the streaming service. Film adaptations favour live action, with 64% of movies using filmed performances of flesh-and-blood actors, while series are overwhelmingly animated at 87% of all animated adaptations. In terms of what viewers prefer, hours viewed for live action and animated content tracks closely with the amount of content available on Netflix. Animations account for 66% of adaptations and for 64% of total hours viewed, while live action productions represent 34% of the catalogue and 36% of hours viewed. 

The most-watched film was The Angry Birds Movie with 28 million hours viewed, followed by Uncharted and The Angry Birds Movie 2. Pokémon: Mewtwo Strikes Back – Evolution and Duncan Jones’ Warcraft adaptation both passed the 10 million hours viewed mark as well. Perhaps less seen in the UK, Double World, a 2020 live-action film adaptation based on populat Chinese MMO Zhengtu was a strong performer, landing just outside the top ten most watched films in the period. It’s worth noting that some very successful series like Arcane or Castlevania had their releases and likely the majority of their views in periods prior to Jan-Jun 2023. We’ll repeat this round-up with each Netflix data release and are excited to see how anticipated future video game adaptations perform when they land on the service. 

Top 10 video game series by hours viewed on Netflix Jan-Jun 2023 

  1. Sonic Prime: Season 1 
  2. The Witcher: Season 1
  3.  The Witcher: Blood Origin: Limited Series
  4. The Witcher: Season 2 
  5. Pokémon The Series: Indigo League: Season 1 
  6. Pokémon Journeys: The Series: Season 1 
  7. The Witcher: Season 3 
  8. Pokémon Ultimate Journeys: The Series: Part 1 
  9. Sonic Boom: Season 1 
  10. Sonic Boom: Season 2 

Top 10 video game films on Netflix by hours viewed Jan-Jun 2023 

  1. The Angry Birds Movie 
  2. Uncharted (2022) 
  3. The Angry Birds Movie 2 
  4. Pokémon: Mewtwo Strikes Back - Evolution 
  5. Warcraft 
  6. Monster Hunter 
  7. Assassin's Creed 
  8. Resident Evil: Apocalypse 
  9. Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life 
  10. Pokémon the Movie: Secrets of the Jungle 

Explore the full list in Netlfix's engagement report 2023

Image credit: Netlfix Sonic Prime