Our industry continues to grow across the country, providing high-skilled, well-paying jobs to thousands of Americans. We are constantly moving forward with new ideas, technologies, and approaches to ensure our industry thrives.
Augmented Reality (XR)
Virtual reality, mixed reality, and augmented reality (XR) represent one of the most fascinating frontiers in our industry. These technologies are poised to revolutionize how we view entertainment by integrating learning, exploration, and physical activity as never before. Unlike traditional video games that are often played from the comfort of one’s home, XR experiences can be suited to a variety of locations.
In healthcare, XR technologies are being used to train surgeons and doctors, supplement therapeutic approaches, and enhance patients’ rehabilitation in new ways. In education, they can engage students by providing immersive learning experiences, such as a holographic human body with an animated skeletal structure and circulatory system. In engineering, these technologies can offer predictive insights and modeling capabilities that give architects and builders a three-dimensional perspective on the spaces they are designing before a single brick is laid.
We are committed to working with policymakers and providing education around how consumers can enjoy and learn from these tools in their daily lives, as well as navigating any policy issues that arise related to these technologies.
Video game players like to customize their gameplay to create an individualized experience. To meet that consumer need, our industry has pioneered ways to provide value to consumers through innovative monetization methods. Some games are sold, while others are free to play. Our industry thrives by creating consumer choice and meeting consumer demand. Doing so also allows our industry to secure a return on investment.
Recently, the use of “loot boxes” as a monetization method has been called into question by a small, but vocal, number of legislators. Put simply, loot boxes are optional features in video games that can be “opened” to receive a surprise selection of virtual items. These virtual items range from cosmetic items for a player’s character or avatar to items that enhance game play, such as weapons and armor. Concerned legislators have encouraged investigations into whether loot boxes constitute compulsive or gambling-like behavior, particularly among children. However, these concerns are unfounded.
“Loot boxes” are an optional in-game feature that enhance the player experience. Players always receive an item when opening a loot box. That item’s value is only within the video game; in other words, there is no real-world value for these items outside the game experience. For these reasons, loot boxes do not constitute “gambling” – and several countries have come to same conclusion.
Nonetheless, the video game industry ensures that consumers, and especially parents, are aware of the availability of in-game purchases and offers tools to limit or prevent monetary transactions. The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), which rates video games and provides information on in-game content, ensures that every video game with loot boxes is labeled appropriately. Video game consoles also provide parents with an opportunity to limit in-game spending. Through the use of these tools, the control and choice is always with parents and with players. To learn more about how to control optional in-game features, visit www.parentaltools.org.
Electronic sports, or esports, represent an exciting new sector for video games. Put simply, esports are video games played competitively among individuals or teams for ranking, prize money, or for fun. This high-growth industry sector is revolutionizing how consumers watch, follow, and engage in the video game ecosystem. Esports now generate worldwide viewership in the hundreds of millions, often exceeding the viewership of traditional sports. With this kind of momentum, the esports sector presents a major opportunity to create new jobs, spur economic growth, and encourage tourism.