“Video games are bad for you? That’s what they said about rock ‘n’ roll.” – Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo
Some call them time-wasters. Others call them art. But we can all agree that they’re just pure fun. Video games have carved their way into our daily lives. They’ve become part of our culture. It’s extremely rare to find a person that never played a video game.
Amid all the joysticks and avatars, it’s hard to remember that gaming is also a massive industry.
How massive? Bigger than movies. Bigger than any pop diva. The video game industry’s revenue was set to surpass $152 billion in 2019, absolutely crushing previous records. Huge diversity, accessibility, and, for some of them, an affordable price point of zero dollars mean that each day more and more people become gamers.
Video Games Are Bigger Than Hollywood
Neither music nor the movie industry is the biggest when it comes to entertainment. It’s video games. Some like to perceive the video game industry vs movie industry duel as some sort of a war, but in reality detente has allowed the two to find common ground.
If it were a fight, it wouldn’t be a fair one: For the past 10 years, the video game industry has earned more money than Hollywood and the music industry combined.
Like movies, video games can have astronomical development costs. Activision Blizzard’s 2014 sci-fi game Destiny famously cost $500 million to make. But it gained almost 10 million players in the first few months after launch. The franchise is now worth billions.
There’s also a little franchise called Grand Theft Auto from Rockstar Games. Grand Theft Auto V is one of the most popular games of all time. It recently became the highest-grossing entertainment product of all time, surpassing every movie, book, and music album. GTA V has sold more than 100 million copies worldwide, earning its publisher more than $6 billion on a development budget of $265 million.
And that’s not the highest-grossing video game franchise. That title belongs to Pokémon, which has brought more than $17 billion to Nintendo since its inception in 1996. Not counting card games, merchandise, and other products.
Not even the latest Avengers movie, with worldwide revenue of $2.79 billion, comes close.