Video game industry gives the U.S. economy a needed boost

Commander Shepard of the "Mass Effect" video game series strides onto the battlefield in Cerberus body armor, "Mass Effect" assault rifle at the ready.

The video game industry has proven to be a stalwart cavalry unit as the U.S. economy faces its greatest need. (Photo Credit: CC BY-SA/xploitme/Flickr)

Video games have come a long way since Pong, Pac Man and Space Invaders. According to a recent study conducted by Economists Incorporated for the trade association Entertainment Software Association entitled “Video Games in the 21st Century: The 2010 Report,” the video game industry contributed a robust $5 billion to the U.S. economy in 2009 alone. From 2005 to 2009, the video game industry’s annual growth has exceeded 10 percent, which is more than seven times the growth of the entire U.S. economy.

Video game industry creates jobs

ESA CEO Michael Gallagher said in a press release that job creation in the video game industry has continued at a “rapid pace,” while making “an important contribution to our nation’s economy while stimulating technological innovations and expanding the impact of games on our daily lives.” The video gaming industry regularly employs more than 32,000, and their average annual salary is $89,781, according to the survey. Directly or indirectly, the video game industry employs more than 120,000 people in the United States.

California is the golden state for the industry

California is the largest employer of video game industry workers. It provided more than$2.6 billion in direct and indirect compensation to its employees in 2009. That translated into $2.1 billion in revenue for the state.

In other states, Texas ranked second with 13,613 employees, followed by Washington (11,225). Virginia also showed tremendous growth from 2005 to 2009, expanding its video game industry presence by a whopping 77 percent.

Thinking about entertainment value

During a recession, entertainment expenses are among the first things to be downsized in a family’s budget. Video gaming may seem expensive on the surface – consoles cost from $200 to $500, and PCs cost even more. Games range from $20 to $60, depending upon their popularity, age, format, etc. But if a consumer can derive somewhere between 40 and 100 hours of playtime from a well-constructed game, the price seems much more reasonable, particularly when compared with more passive forms of entertainment like movies, the price of which has skyrocketed in recent years. Video games have been proven to promote hand-eye coordination and even have therapeutic and developmental uses. Plus the video game industry has had positive effects on the U.S. economy.


Video Games in the 21st Century: The 2010 Report

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