Games: Improving What Matters
Today’s video games provide rich, engaging entertainment for gamers across the globe, but they also go far beyond play. Games now drive technological and societal advancements that serve gamers and non-gamers alike. From education, to health, to business, the computer and video game industry is helping Americans lead healthier, happier, and more productive lives.
In the 1970s, individual gamers pecked at keyboards or manipulated a dial to move black-and-white dots across the screen. Today, games are an experience for groups of family and friends to send their avatars soaring through multi-dimensional virtual cities. The gamer audience expanded, matured, and diversified with the evolution of video games. In barely more than a generation, video games transformed from a diversion for the few into a mass medium, helping people live, learn, work, and of course, play.
The mobile games sector, a relatively new outgrowth of the entertainment software industry, makes an important contribution to overall computer and video game sales. Thanks to the popularity of smartphones and tablets, mobile games have received a burst of attention, driven by strong consumer demand, focused on producing innovative new technologies and creative new products.
Video games are a source of family entertainment, with parents, children, and grandparents all vying for the controls. Today’s parents increasingly view video games as a positive and often educational way to interact with their children. Parents also have a variety of resources available to help them monitor and evaluate games, ensuring that only the games they deem suitable make it into their children’s hands.
The video game industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the U.S. economy. Entertainment software companies employ tens of thousands of Americans and generate millions of dollars in revenue for communities across the nation. In addition, the industry posted strong overall sales in 2012 with revenues of nearly $21 billion as entertainment software companies bolster state and local economies across the nation.
In the beginning, there was Pong’s black screen and white cube. Today, video games are not only works of art themselves; they influence other art forms. Game plots show on big screens at movie theatres, film and television directors are also entering the world of video game design, and orchestras perform video game soundtracks at their concerts. Video game artwork is also becoming a respected artistic genre of its own, as a number of galleries feature game artwork in their exhibits and emerging artists use entertainment software as a new medium.
Educators increasingly recognize the impact of entertainment software and use games as a teaching device in a growing number of classrooms and business settings. In addition to being a great way to keep students engaged, researchers have found that video games have real potential as next-generation learning tools. More than just play, entertainment software helps impart complex knowledge, develop crucial skill sets, and reinforce positive educational habits in students of all ages.
The health of the American people is serious business, and, in a relatively short time, entertainment software has become a valuable partner in that cause. Computer and video games now serve as useful tools in the fight to preserve well-being, heal the injured, and train the professionals who respond to medical emergencies.
Nonprofit organizations and issue advocates now view video games as an effective medium for communicating ideas and generating support among young tech-savvy consumers. Computer and video games have become successful vehicles to teach important values, engage a new generation of voters, and bring the problems facing other countries to the front door of new audiences. Able to unite and inspire, social issue games provide public education campaigns with a 21st-century way to spread their messages.
As the generation that grew up with video games enters and assumes leadership positions in the workplace, computer and video games increasingly play a role in business operations. A growing number of major companies, from automobile manufacturers to beverage producers, use video games to find and train employees and increase sales among their younger, tech-savvy customers.
As the video game playing population expands and diversifies, in-game advertisements and advergames are expanding as well. In fact, Massive, Inc., a creator of dynamic video game advertisements, estimates the in-game advertising market could grow to $1 billion globally by 2014.
ESA is committed to helping parents. Through the Entertainment Software Rating Board, the association has voluntarily established numerous tools and policies to help parents make educated choices and encourage retailers to enforce ratings at the point of sale.
Back to Top