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Why it is time to take video games seriously

Assif Shameen
Assif Shameen12/4/2020 7:0 AM GMT+08  • 10 min read
Why it is time to take video games seriously
With a greater focus on interactivity, video gaming has come a long way and it's time for all of us to take it more seriously.
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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Grand Theft AutoV, an eclectic mix of new and evergreen games, were among the top sellers this past year as most people who were unable to go to the cinema, concerts, sports events or other outdoor activities took to interactive video gaming at home. Sales of video games jumped more than 20% in the first 10 months of this year, according to gaming industry research firm NPD Group. Spending on consoles, which is usually depressed ahead of impending new console releases, soared 23% in the January–October period as consumers around the world spent more time at home during the pandemic.

Over the past two weeks, just in time for the holiday season, Sony Corp and Microsoft Corp released new versions of PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X — their first new consoles in over seven years — which are expected to dramatically boost sales of consoles as well as games in the final two months of the year. Global spending on games software is forecast to top US$175 billion ($234 billion) this year while global console hardware sales are estimated to reach US$45 billion.

Video gaming globally is now a US$240 billion industry, if you add in all the related services and peripherals. That is more than what people spent worldwide on movies and music combined last year. The video games industry is now bigger than the entire global sports industry, including all the sponsorships. It is larger than any other form of entertainment, and it is still growing at double-digit rates year on year. The ubiquity of mobile devices has lowered the barriers to entry and made everyone a potential gamer. Over two billion people around the world play some form of a video game every day, mostly on mobile devices like smartphones or tablets. If you add in the fastest-growing segments of virtual and augmented reality, as well as e-sports, the gaming market is likely to have three billion players in five years.

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