Will video games replace movies as entertainment blockbusters?

Boom Beach for phones and tablets is the current champ of small-screen gaming

Technology keeps coming up with new ways to entertain us. And in the boss fight of screens, video games are slamming movies hands down.

Hollywood, Bollywood and China’s fast-growing film industry may still have more glamour, but the big money is in video games.

The industry founded by pioneers such as Atari’s Nolan Bushnell made an estimated US$83.6 billion in 2014, compared with US$36.4 billion in global cinema box office takings for that year. Even factoring in DVD sales, streaming charges and other income sources, films now run well behind games.

Headed for US$100 billion: Games-focused market research firm Newzoo predicts the gaming industry’s global revenues will top US$100 billion by 2017 and are growing by more than 7 per cent a year, compared with 1 per cent for cinema takings.

The Motion Picture Association of America says US and Canada cinema takings actually dropped 5 per cent in 2014, but box office outside North America rose 4 per cent.

Rise of the “personal screen”: Smartphones have delivered the video game industry a new and less intensely male audience; one that prefers Candy Crush to Call of Duty. The “personal screen” – a category dominated by phones – is growing at 15 per cent a year.

By 2018, the personal screen will overtake the TV screen to become the second-most important screen for gaming, behind only the PC screen.

China seizes the US’s crown: Smartphones are also helping to make China the world’s largest games market, a milestone Newzoo predicts will happen sometime this year. By 2016, it says, revenue from video games in the Chinese market will reach US$26.2 billion, well ahead of the US$22.6 billion US market.

Related article: Why China now leads the way in innovation

Supercell wins big: Supercell, the Helsinki-based company that makes the heavily advertised Clash of Clans for phones and tablets, is the current champ of small-screen gaming. Newzoo reports the game is the top earner in both the US and Europe, and it sells well in China, too

Supercell was reportedly making revenues of US$2.5 million a day from Clash of Clans, Boom Beach and Hay Day by 2013, the year that Japanese company GungHo’s parent, SoftBank, bought 51 per cent of the company for a reported US$2.1 billion.

See more at bit.ly/itb-all-your-base

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