The Lame (and incorrect) ‘Game Industry Dying’ Meme

It all started with a short-sighted, myopic article by Angela Moscaritolo on  “Video game sales drop,” the article’s headline blasts.  From here, the lame information given by The NPD Group with its over-focus on just one segment of the overall gaming industry creating news out of non-news by conveniently ignoring data in order to skew statistics.

Like a presentation by Al Gore, the completely fabricated view was then propagated by repeat-box outlets like

Here’s the real news: gaming is getting bigger and will most likely reach $82 billion in revenues by 2017 – about $20B more than it does right now.  For an industry that’s supposedly dying, that’s some pretty good growth.  That’s according to DFC Intelligence as reported in Forbes.

“But wait,” you say.  “Aren’t you just swapping one lame release for another?”

Nope.  Unlike NPD’s data, the DFC report includes all of the gaming industry, not just consoles.  It includes “revenue from dedicated console hardware and software (both physical and online), dedicated portable hardware and software, PC games and games for mobile devices such as mobile phones, tablets, music players and other devices that can play games as a secondary feature.”

Basically, if you take console-based sales alone, then yes, the gaming industry appears to be in a slow death spiral.  If, however, you look at the entire industry, you see overall growth despite the fall of consoles.

Here are the things driving game sales right now, globally:

  • PC game sales, which are at about $20B for 2012 and will continue to grow.
  • Mobile game sales, which are the fastest-growing segment of the industry globally.
  • Online distribution and usage game models are gaining traction quickly. Even on consoles.
  • The MMO and MMORPG segment, which is maturing and becoming huge business, will continue slow growth as it diversifies.
  • Online gaming will continue to grow.  It was a big part of the market in 2011 at $19B and should top $22B in 2012.

Basically, the only game segment dying off besides arcades are console-driven games and the hardware that runs them.

The biggest problems consoles face is lack of relevance.  Their only redeeming factor is that they have the edge when it comes to game controls and the playability this gives real-time games like first person shooters and such.  That edge is withering fast, though, as low-cost controllers for PCs and even mobile devices saturate the market and new control types like kinetic and optic controls (think Wii and Kinect for non-consoles) begin to proliferate.

In fact, the growth of the tablet sector in hardware is directly fueling certain mobile game sales and these devices (like the phones they’re often akin to) have built-in gyroscopic sensors and thus can be controlled with intuitive mixtures of tablet movement and touch-screen.

So, sorry, Angela, even though your PCMag article managed to get keywords like Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and Halo 4 stuffed into it liberally, the overall premise of your message is wrong.  The gaming industry is not dying.  In fact, it’s one of the few global industries that’s thriving.

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