ESA Report Details Ongoing Growth of Video Game Industry

A comprehensive report from the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) reveals that the game industry created direct economic output of $409.9 billion in 2019 as well as direct employment of 143,045 people. Further, gaming generated total income of $35.28 billion including $17.37 billion in direct compensation to workers in the video game industry. In indirect support, the game industry contributed $90.3 billion. All these figures are predicted to grow in 2020, due to the rise of gaming during the COVID-19 shutdowns.

VentureBeat reports that ESA stated its report, which was produced by economic analysis firm Teconomy Partners, examined “as much of the game industry as it could measure.”

“This is the most comprehensive report we’ve ever done,” said ESA chief executive Stanley Pierre-Louis. “We’re a digital industry increasingly going right from physical to digital. And because our audiences expect the content to be delivered in a variety of ways, it has forced our industry over the years to modernize. And that modernization was put at the forefront at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis.”

He added that the industry was one of the first to “transition to work from home,” which enabled it to “pivot in ways that other industries weren’t able to do.”

The report details that the industry is comprised of 11,400 businesses related to gaming across the U.S., which “includes a lot of stores, but … suggests the game companies — which directly employ 143,045 people and indirectly support a total of 428,646 jobs in the U.S. — have become a huge economic engine for the country.” It also “estimates it contributed $59.76 billion in value-added growth [and] paid $12.6 billion in taxes in 2019,” which breaks down to “$8.2 billion in federal taxes and $4.4 billion for state and local governments.”

Pierre-Louis stated that, “the economic impact ends up being really important to policymakers, when we think about where they engage our industry and where they prioritize it.” “We’re bringing a very positive impact to the national culture and to the national economy,” he added. About 214 million people in the U.S. play games.

VB notes that, “video games are also driving spillover positive effects for other U.S. industries, fueling innovation in computation, graphics rendering, interface design and haptics, mobile systems design, networking, and software engineering.”

“A lot of what we have to do is inform and educate policymakers on the growth of our industry, not only economically, but also technologically, and in terms of the narratives that we carry, and about who we are as an industry and who our fans are,” said Pierre-Louis. Games and game technology aren’t just changing entertainment and culture but “finding applications in other areas of the economy, in areas as diverse as medical imaging, medical robotics navigation, military training and simulation, and new educational and training applications using game-based learning.”