Video and computer games are big business in the United States. Industry analysts say that in 2012, consumers spent $20.7 billion on video games, consoles and related goods.
If you think video games are played primarily by young people, think again: 36 percent of all game players are over the age of 35. Only 32 percent of all game players are under the age of 18 while another 32 percent of game players are between the ages of 18 and 35.
The average American household owns at least one dedicated gaming system. Fifty-one percent of American households own a console specifically engineered for playing games and nothing else. Most of the households that own at least one dedicated gaming console own more than one.
Many Americans, in fact, think gaming is the ultimate form of entertainment. Approximately 43 percent of gamers believe video games are a better value than DVDs, music purchases or trips to the Multiplex to see the most recent blockbuster.
The most successful gaming manufacturer is Redwood City-based Electronic Arts. The company’s most popular games are Need for Speed and The Sims 3, each of which has sold well over 150 million units. Need for Speed is a video racing game franchise while The Sims 3 is a strategic life simulation game. Other popular titles in the Electronic Arts portfolio include sports-oriented titles like FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) and Madden NFL, both of which has sold upward of one million units; the role-playing franchise Dragon Age; and a franchise based on the wildly popular film trilogy Star Wars.
Electronic Arts’ chief rival is Activision, a gaming company headquartered in Santa Monica. Activision’s most popular title is Call of Duty, a first-person and third-person shooter game. The company is also known for Guitar Hero, a music game that allows players to simulate the playing of a band guitar player; Tony Hawk, a skateboarding video game franchise; and James Bond, a franchise based on the adventures of the famous fictional spy.
Other heavy hitters in the video game industry include the French company Ubisoft, which publishes titles based on Tom Clancy’s bestselling titles, and Microsoft Studios, the publishers of Halo, a wildly popular science fiction game franchise.