While it was reported yesterday that video game sales in Japan are expected to peak this year, and fall over the next two to three years. Meanwhile, in the states, even the Christian Science Monitor admits that gaming is still tapping into new (see: female) audiences. So much so that the powers that be over at C|Net’s news.com have determined 2008 to be the year of gaming, and companies like Sigma Designs have started partnering with our beloved Microsoft to work on the ability to provide 16 simultaneous streaming video channels to a “set top box” – potentially even the Xbox 360. The pull the gaming industry has on other industries is growing, as the whole video game “fad” becomes more of a cornerstone of American living. Take that, Fox News.
During the CES Keynote speech delivered by Bill Gates, Mr. Gates had mentioned that video games were “on track” to be the “best year ever in the United States” (not just Xbox 360 contrary to other articles). “Video games” are poised to have a great year – that’s exactly what Bill Gates said to us literally 5 hours ago.
Well, MSNBC (a joint Microsoft – NBC Universal venture) reported, on the same day, that the industry may actually slow in 2008. The article is actually from Reuters, using data from CEA, but it’s an interesting contradiction. So which is it?
Well, Gates’ statement, when in context, suggest that the video game industry as a whole will do well. Not necessarily the console and hardware end of things. While the title of the MSNBC article suggests that “Game industry growth may slow in 2008” they are not contradicting what gates said. The MSNBC article, once broken down, essentially states that console/hardware sales are all expected to drop, while games/software is expected to pick up a great deal.
The article states that industry hardware sales were “$6.6 billion in 2007, but are anticipated to shrink to $6.4 billion in 2008.” Where, software on the other, is expected to see “…’a 26 percent increase in sales over 2007,’ said CEA spokeswoman Jennifer Bemisderfer. Software sales are expected to rise to $11.5 billion in 2008, up from $9.1 billion in 2007.” According to the article, software sales rose 7.6 percent between 2006 and 2007 – so a 26 percent increase is going to be absolutely gigantic.
Expect to see this data referenced throughout the year, and don’t let anyone blur those details and spin this article their way to try and trick you! Keep your guard up!