When you people lose your jobs, or are feeling down about the price of milk, it seems you seek one solace and one solace only: Video Games. While individual companies such as Midway, EA, and even Microsoft have had mass layoffs in the past few months, showing signs of financial strain, the video game industry as a whole has literally never been better.
$22 BILLION worth of video game software and hardware was sold in 2008. That’s the Gross Domestic Product of Costa Rica right there. Of this, over half, $11.7 billion was software, meaning it’s not all from people buying Wiis or taking advantage of price drops for the PS3 and Xbox 360.
December is perhaps the most baffling. In this month that was supposed to show the worst time for retailers, this 13th month of the then officially declared recession, sales weren’t just healthy, they were record breaking. For the first time ever in a single month, video game sales brought in over $5 billion. In fact, according to the ESA’s report on the sales numbers, they brought in more in December 2008 than in the entire year of 1997.
Mature games, which typically get the widest coverage in the “hardcore” market, accounted for only 15% of these sales, while E and E-10 made up 57%.
So, clearly, there are some well-entertained, starving, naked gamers out there. The question is, what is separating Video Games in people’s minds as still being such a strong value compared to comics, movies, or any other form of entertainment? While January has no doubt been a slow month, with games like Street Fighter IV, Resident Evil V, Halo Wars, and more on the horizon in just the next two months, it will be interesting to see if growth can truly be maintained.