Oh, how times have changed.

It’s been close for a while, but according to a new report by Game Debate, gaming has finally broken through and become the most popular form of entertainment in the world. This is following a report by that article that showed a growth in gaming worldwide by a surprising 10.7%, and a drop in television by 8% worldwide.

Revenue streams were another point of evidence: TV Revenue clocked in at a whopping $106 billion last month, but games still managed to pull ahead with $116 billion.

And if you think movies or music are still major competitors, think again: Last month, music brought in a total of $17 billion, and movies earned $41 billion. So, yes, the gaming industry is now worth over three times as much as the movie industry.

Gaming successes have been growing in the U.S. for a while, but one of the bigger reasons for this achievement is the massive growth of gaming for China and Chinese audiences. For the past several years, video games in China have experienced a growth rate of approximately 14% annually, year after year. And while it certainly didn’t do everything by itself,  the rise of Fortnite: Battle Royale has contributed to this statistic, alongside other tremendous gaming successes such as God Of War and Grand Theft Auto V; That last title, in particular, sold upwards of 100 million copies, which is more success than any single move has ever had in history.

And yet it still feels like society has a long way to go before they bring in gaming alongside other forms of entertainment such as TV or movies. The movements of the markets have been outpacing the minds of the masses a bit, however: A few years ago, rushed and often low-quality game experiences would be released alongside every major movie to hit the theaters, but it’s becoming more and more frequent to see the opposite happen. As games like Assassin’s Creed and Angry Birds gain such huge fanbases, movie studios are beginning to approach them and try to capitalize on their popularity with films that often see poor critical reception but still make their money back. Speaking of movies based on games, stay on the lookout for the cinematographic adaptation of Five Nights At Freddy’s by Blumhouse, the studio that has become famous for releasing brilliant horror and suspense films like Get Out and It Follows.

And although many people can easily ignore it if they were previously unaware, gaming has made its way into television programming as well, with eSports programs growing to such enormous popularity to grant them time slots on major sports stations and channels. That event was an especially odd jump for many gamers, as tuning in to ESPN for some Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournaments was one of the first (and, to this day, only) indications that what they once coveted as their nerdy little hobby has become something much, much bigger.

Gaming has certainly come a long way in the past twenty years or so. It’s becoming more and more acceptable to identify as a “gamer”, a phrase that might have garnered many an odd look in the past. But despite its widespread popularity, gaming certainly doesn’t feel as popular as mainstream movies or TV shows.

This might be due to the fact that movies and TV shows are inherently social events which require people to gather around at a specific time in order to catch their favorite show or piece of cinema. Or, it may just be that those who are most invested in gaming have not yet aged out previous generations to a degree that gaming begins to feel like anything more than an underground hobby.

But unless market trends change significantly in the next few years and the gaming hobby falls off the map completely for one reason or another, it looks like this new hierarchy of entertainment mediums is here to stay.

 

  • Ben N

    Very interesting read! e-Sports are growing rapidly with games like Fortnite, as you mention. Society as never considered video games to be true “sports,” but as popularity and revenue ramp up, it will be interesting to see if that societal norm changes.

  • Caroline Walker

    Crazy how popular gaming has become in a relatively short amount of time. Excited to see what the future of gaming is.