Wow, I knew the video gaming industry was invading or has already invaded the mainstream entertainment market, but I don't think I recognized the depth of its invasiveness and the trend that has taken hold.
Earlier in December, Advertising Pawn posted an impressive presentation entitled "Gaming Trends" that I suggest everyone browse, regardless of your techie geek affiliation.
As a sample, did you know that 65% of households in the United States now play games? Or that the average game player age is now 32? Or how about that 2 million Spore creatures were created and shared in a month? And as if that wasn't enough, worldwide the gaming industry is a $34 billion dollar industry - that's bigger than DVD's, the Box Office, Movie Rentals, Books, or Music. Here's the video.
Around 2001 I believe the industry was valued at around $8 billion dollars.
The major causes of the massive growth consist of a few things:
For starters, the first gamer generation has grown up, gotten married, and had kids. As a result of their own childhood exposure to games, they know that video games can be good for their kids and are more willing to involve their kids in gaming activity. In a lot of cases the parents even encourage it.
Second: The platform explosion. In the 1980's, outside of those fun-but-cheesy LCD games we only had a few choices: Sega, Nintendo, Atari, etc., we had to play them at home, and we had to play them on the television. Some cool kids also had PC's or Macs they could play games on at home. Then one day Nintendo came out with Gameboy. That changed things. Now you could play games anywhere. Real games. Not those fun-but-cheesy LCD ones. Then mobile phones got smaller, and faster, and suddenly they could play games. Then more Gameboy-like devices came out like PSP and Nintendo DS.
In the meantime computers became more and more powerful and somewhere in the middle of all of it the mass public discovered (or invented, in some people's view) the Internet. And now look at today. iPhones, Blackberries, general cell phones, PDA's, Nintendo DS's, PSP's, Wii's, 360's, PS3's, websites, PC's - all connected to the Internet. Platform explosion.
At this rate your toaster and coffeemaker will be able to play a game of Pong with the eggs that your refrigerator pooped out on the counter signalled by your character dying in WoW 3, from which they could then upload their scores to a website so you can compare your appliances' scores on a social network of other Toaster-Coffeemaker Pong player-owners from your BlackBerry iPhone. Watch. It will happen. And your 2 year old will love it.
And finally, video games add value to our lives. They can de-stress, entertain, educate, connect people, connect people more, let them lead virtual lives, become a job, help with marketing, recruiting, and probably things we don't even know yet.
And so, to me it's no surprise that video games have exploded this much. When you think about it, it had to. Gaming has been a part of our human history for thousands of years (earliest known, 3000 BC), and it's only natural that our gaming pasttime be extended to our latest and greatest technological innovations. The only question is, what's next?