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.
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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.
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