SALT LAKE CITY — There was a time when video games were thought of as a niche market. Theirs was a business associated with kids shoveling quarters into arcade machines; a market that relied on the young and a handful of adults who, in the popular view, had only grown up physically.
Those days, however, are long gone. Today, video games aren’t just mainstream; they’re bringing in more money than every single other entertainment market, according to a new study.
In 2018, video games had a record year. The industry officially took control of 51.3 percent of the UK entertainment market, beating out, for the first time, music, movies and television combined.
In the United Kingdom, the Entertainment Retailers Association reports video games brought in an incredible £3.9 billion ($4.9 billion USD), more than half of the £7.5 billion ($9.5 billion USD) spent on entertainment in total.
Those numbers, however, barely scratch the surface of how much of the market video games have taken over. That £3.9 billion doesn’t take into account sales made on mobile and free-to-play games, including the incredibly popular game Fortnite, which has more than 200 million players around the world.
This marks the first time in history that video games have been able to outsell every other form of entertainment combined in the United Kingdom. In other parts of the world, however, video games have dominated for years.
The United States has yet to release its data for 2018, but in 2017, the U.S. Department of Commerce was already reporting that video games made up more than 51 percent of our entertainment market.
The highest grossing entertainment product, likewise, is the video game Grand Theft Auto V, which had brought in $6 billion as of November 2018 — more than twice as much as the highest-grossing film of all time, Avatar.
To stay relevant in the digital age, film and music have gone through major shifts in their revenue models. According to Statista, 66 percent of video sales and 82.5 percent of music sales are now made digitally, with most of those sales being made through streaming services like Netflix and Spotify. Music, in particular, has undergone a major shift. Today, 67.4 percent of all music sales come through streaming services alone, according to the RIAA.
There’s no question that the world is changing — but is it for the better or worse?
KSL Newsradio’s Dave Dujanovic talked about how the rise of video games was going to affect the next generation, and they didn’t see eye-to-eye.
Debbie Dujanovic says that she doesn’t “want video games to take over the world,” but Dave Noriega says that, whether she likes it or not, it’s “already happened.”
If you missed the show live, you can still catch everything they said on the Dave Dujanovic podcast. Listen here.