The computer game market is the economic sector involved with the development, marketing and sales of video games. It encompasses dozens of job disciplines and employs thousands of people worldwide.
Considered by some as a curiosity in the mid-1970s, the computer and video game industries have grown from focused markets to mainstream. They took in about US$9.5 billion in the US in 2007, $11.7 billion in 2008, and $25.1 billion in 2010.
Not long ago the creators of computer games were declaring their medium the art form of the 21st century. Games could aspire to the drama and spectacle of movies but would captivate society with their irresistible interactivity.
However, after more than 200 million Wii, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 systems were sold worldwide, the computer game market now finds itself teetering on the edge of a financial crisis.
In the first eight months of this year retail sales of video games plummeted 20% in the United States. That followed a lacklustre performance in 2011, when sales fell 8%.
With the spread of smartphones and tablet PCs worldwide and the increased popularity of social networking sites, the available means of providing game software continue to diversify, and opportunities to reach an even greater audience for game software are increasing.
Nearly everywhere, it seems, people have been sharing Words With Friends, slinging Angry Birds at pigs or springing their creatures through a precarious Doodle universe. All those games, made for smartphones, sure are popular, and the financial picture improves when their sales are included, but they can be had for pennies and seemingly become disposable almost as fast as they are released.
Among the top 50 game companies, 13 came from Japan, 10 from the United States, 11 from Mainland China, 9 from South Korea, 5 from Europe and 2 from Taiwan.
For more information on the computer game market, see the latest research: Computer Game Market
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