Video Game Industry Booms as Other Media Industries Struggle

While some areas of entertainment media such as the movie and music businesses are struggling to find their footing in an evolving digital landscape, the video game industry is thriving. “Grand Theft Auto V” by Rockstar Games, for example, earned $800 million worldwide in its first 24 hours of availability. That’s the largest launch day any form of entertainment media has ever experienced. Challenges involved with pirating games contribute to the industry’s success.

“Grand Theft Auto V,” which cost $266 million to make, is one of the many reasons the video game industry is expected to grow from $67 billion to $84 billion from 2013 to 2017, according to Fast Company.

“‘GTA’ is not the only $100-million+ ‘tentpole game’ out there, or the first one to beat Hollywood by the numbers,” notes the article. “Last year, the category-leading first person shooter ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 2’ made $1 billion in 15 days. It took ‘Avatar,’ the top-grossing movie of all time, two days longer to earn the same amount.”

Other games have seen similar popularity, and specialized gaming machines may be part of the reason.

“Having the dedicated devices makes a difference,” Jason Della Rocca, former head of the IGDA and founder of consulting firm Perimeter and incubator Execution Labs, told Fast Company. “It is quite a pain in the butt to get a cracked copy of a game and then modify my Xbox or PlayStation in order to play that version, etc.”

Though that technology could disappear, other factors, like the ease of consumption, interaction with other players, and even being able to play games on-the-go make for a perfect combination of factors that keep consumers playing and, subsequently, paying.

Meanwhile, according to Fast Company, “global movie revenue, both DVD and ticket sales, hit an estimated $94 billion in 2010, down 17 percent after inflation from 2001.”

The following are key takeaways from conversations with Della Rocca and Wanda Meloni, founder of game analyst firm M2 Research, regarding the growing success of the gaming industry:

  • There’s a “pain in the butt factor” to pirating games.
  • You can’t pirate a service.
  • Games come with more accessible price points and time commitments.
  • Smart gaming companies don’t ignore women.