Monday, January 21, 2008

Video Gaming Stronger Than Ever

What is it about video games that has such appeal among people of all ages? Is it the feeling of comraderie? The reported development and stimulation of hand/eye co-ordination? Or the aspect of competition, perhaps? Whatever it is, video gaming is a burgeoning industry, with The Retail BRIDGE reporting US$17.94 billion in sales for 2007, rising 43% from the year prior. According to figures cited from the NPD, the video game industry rose 28% during the month of December 2007 alone, reaching a record US$4.82 billion.

Of those people I know who actively engage in video game play, the majority are surprisingly not kids, but rather grown men. Some use it as a way to unwind after a hard day's work; while others enjoy a game or two in the company of friends. Others yet use video gaming as a way to keep in touch with friends and family who, due to the constraints of adult life and location, they can't catch up with face-to-face. With Internet connectivity available with the most advanced gaming platforms, someone in Canada can shoot, fight, and drive his way to virtual glory with a friend or family member somewhere across the world. And why talk by telephone or type an e-mail when you can race your buddy through curvy and dangerous roads on-screen, or work together to conquer aliens in a virtual world while chatting through a headset?

The Retail BRIDGE goes on to report that video game software sales rose 33% in 2007 to US$8.62 billion. This isn't hard to believe. I often see or hear about an avid game player buying an $80 video game one day, only to complete it by the next (after playing continuously for hours on end, no doubt). With a new game purchase every few weeks, well, you do the math.
Word of mouth works wonders as well, and with new and highly-anticipated titles coming out all the time, there's no surprise that gamer's wallets keep opening to jump on the newest and most exciting game train. Not to mention that with the appeal of the aforementioned Internet connectivity options, each friend and family member has to own the game in question in order to participate. This means that one gaming session can easily translate to 5x the sale.

We've heard the video game debate over and over when it comes to kids and teens, but here's an interesting question: what about adults? Are video games bad for the 30+ crowd? On the one hand, there's nothing wrong with engaging in fun activity every now and then, and it can actually help someone relax from a stressful day. Stereotypically, women shop and get their hair and nails done while men watch football and play video games, right? But on the other hand, too much of anything can wreak havoc in one's life.

The same rule applies to this past-time as does to any other: anything in moderation is a-ok. And with consoles like the Nintendo Wii becoming increasingly popular, gaming is more often than not a family activity rather than a solitary pleasure, meaning that it can even be used as a means to bring everyone together.

With that said, the video game industry is likely poised for further growth in 2008. Whatever this industry is feeding consumers, no doubt that it's working wonders.

1 comment:

Lee_D said...

I got a copy of Super Paper Mario that came bundled with my Wii last September (I believe in beating the Christmas rush), but I hadn't tried it until last night. My thumbs are sore like they were back in the old days with my original NES. Not only am I a non-traditional gamer, but I'm really showing my age here.