Chapter 19: The Economics of the Video-gaming Leisure Market
Joe Cox INTRODUCTION Video gaming has become a hugely popular activity within the space of the last few decades. The practice of playing video games can take a variety of forms, ranging from feeding coins into traditional amusement arcade machines to the use of dedicated video-gaming hardware or a personal computer and increasingly to mobile devices such as phones and personal organizers. Despite omission as a category in its own right in Aguiar and Hurst’s (2007) large-scale study into the use of leisure time over the course of the last five decades in the United States, video gaming is a pursuit that is arguably reaching some semblance of maturity in both market development and depth of cultural content. As a result, video gaming is now being taken seriously within the mainstream as a major commercial force in the entertainment industry and as an art form in its own right. In terms of revenues, video gaming has recently grabbed a number of headlines by recording hugely impressive sales figures, especially in the context of the performance of other, more traditionally heralded constituents of the entertainment industry and of the general economic downturn. For example, the 2008 game ‘Grand Theft Auto IV’ set a Guinness World Record for the highest ever entertainment earner within the first 24 hours of release, selling 3.6 million units and generating $310 million in revenue (Guinness World Records Gamer Edition, 2008). By comparison, the fastest-selling boxoffice release ever was Spiderman 3 (generating $60 million revenue in 24...
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