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Video Games: Not Just for Kids

July 24, 2008  

Anyone who has witnessed a Wii bowling tournament at a senior center knows it: video games are not just for kids anymore. They are big business. And they are early indicators of tomorrow's interactive media products and services.

When the first big video game success, Pong, was invented 35 years ago, it was not apparent that consumer demand would create such a lucrative profit center. But last year's $31.6 billion video game market is expected to grow to nearly $50 billion by 2011,surpassing Hollywood box office sales, according to PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

And a whole new generation—over 80 million millennials (aka Generation Y) born after 1980—is surpassing the boomers' size and impact. They are already "trained to expect convenience and instant gratification—especially when it comes to entertainment," says Anne Sweeney, co-chair, Disney Media Networks, and president, Disney-ABC Television Group. They are not alone.

According to recent research, a full 72% of US consumers now play video games (NPD group). And these games influence, and sometimes set the standard for, the look and feel of more realistic, interactive PC and Web application interfaces. Online audiences are gravitating toward the most realistic and responsive applications.


The marketing message here? Video games are a rapidly expanding vehicle for product placement ad campaigns—a fast-growing visual entertainment trend. And they are the bellwether of a rapidly evolving consumer digital experience and market.

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