Video Games Industry - A priceless treasure that’s worth more than you can imagine

In 1997 the video game industry was worth $5.1 billion. In 2008 it was estimated to worth $22 billion. That is a $17.1 billion increase in eleven years, which is a $1.5 billion increase every year. That sounds a lot doesn’t it? Well it doesn’t stop there since analysts predict that by 2012 the total worth will be around $68.3 billion. That’s right, in four years the industry is expected to have increase by $46.3 billion, which means so far the industry has grown by $11.57 billion. Not bad for an industry that almost ceased to exist twice (at least in North America anyway). If anyone can be kind enough to convert those figures to British currency it would be much appreciated.

All those numbers and the mention of the word “billion” have got my head spinning (and jealous that I’m not worth this much). Regardless the number crunching comes from Professor Maple on the Anti Game Addiction blog (, in which the professor goes to great lengths to explain the continued growth for the industry.

After 1985 (the arrival of the NES in North America) the industry has gone from strength to strength. The key areas in where the video game industry has been growing are profit, technology, acceptance and its influence in the entertainment industry.

Profit has already been covered in detail, so there’s no need to expand with the exception that thanks to competition (specifically the two great console wars – Nintendo vs. Sega and now Nintendo vs. Sony vs. Microsoft) have only helped the industry. Competition forces hardware and software companies to provide games and consoles of the good quality that improves on their last project, which in turn gets consumers to spend money. And speaking of ever improving, that leads me to the next factor...

In terms of technology, it just seems that every time we see a new console, it’s amazing how they can improve on the last generation. When Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft (and for that matter, anyone else who fancies their luck in the hardware market) unveil their new consoles, we know it’s going to be more powerful than their latest current generation consoles, but it’s still very hard to imagine how much so.

With the improvements in hardware an ongoing basis, this has lead to games being able to take advantage of those benefits, with games increasingly getting better graphics, more effective ways to tell a story less boundaries (which has lead to the success of the “sandbox genre” and improvements in Artificial Intelligence.

Acceptance came during the arrival of the PlayStation. It was the PlayStation that signalled the rise of the casual gamer and made video gaming look less of a geeky activity, instead proving to be a system that everyone could enjoy, hardcore and casual gamer alike.

As time went on, gaming became more and more accepted, thanks to the casual games market. What was once a niche in the video games industry has now become a dominating genre thanks to the rise of Peggle, Bejewelled, Farmville and Mafia Wars. Nintendo also did their part, with the Wii and the DS tapping into the casual gaming market. This helped the company become #1 in the industry again but more importantly made gaming more accessible than ever to everyone – name a console that has seen use in retirement and care homes?

Finally we come to the influence in the industry. Video games and Hollywood have always maintained a steady relationship, but with the comic book boom having occurred over the last few years (starting with Bryan Singer’s excellent X-Men) that relationship has started to become more productive. There has recently been a green light for the production of films based on CastleVania, Mass Effect and (surprisingly) Rollercoaster Tycoon. There’s also been a movie that’s based on the Prince of Persia: Sands of Time game (which is very good I might add)

There are also numerous books and comics based of video games as well, with franchises such as Halo, Gears of War and Resident Evil getting the novel treatment.

The series with the largest media crossover belongs to Street Fighter series, which has had numerous films (live action and animated), comics and art dedicated to the series.

It’s no wonder then that the video game industry is perhaps the biggest entertainment industry in terms of profit. Its ability to appeal to the masses as well as being able to use the power of convergence to its full potential is the many reasons why the industry is so huge and continues to grow.

Interestingly the blog does address the notion that the United Kingdom is losing ground due to no “adequate labour market”, which has seen Canada take over the UK as the third biggest manufacturer in the UK.

But in a way This is somewhat of a blessing for Train2Game students; it shows there is a place for them in the UK video game industry and not only is there still time for them to make their mark, but doing so will help the UK become an even bigger force in the industry.

What do you think about this? Send me your comments below.