Videogamers take on new battle - the recession

Thu Apr 2, 2009 8:12am EDT
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By John Gaudiosi

RALEIGH, North Carolina (Reuters Life!) - As people cut back on travel and going out, they are turning more to home entertainment, providing a boost to the videogame industry that is under pressure to keep gamers amused and beat the recession.

Analyst Toon van Beeck from industry market research firm IbisWorld said videogame industry revenue is set to reach $41.9 billion this year, having risen from $27.2 billion in 2004, with over 37 million consoles sold in the United States alone in 2008.

A new report from IbisWorld said the introduction of Nintendo's Wii had helped bolster the industry by changing the face of videogamers, bringing in more female players who now make up 38 percent of the gaming demographic.

"Videogame sales have been impacted the least from the global recession and there are no real signs of it slowing," said Michael Cai, vice president of videogame research at Interpret.

"In order to maintain this healthy growth momentum, however, the gaming industry needs to continue providing appealing content and innovative experiences to compete for consumers' entertainment time and share of wallet."

Cai expected used games and value-priced games to take a greater share of total sales in this economic environment.

Last fall, as the effects of the economic downturn were being felt, videogame sales rose internationally. In the United States alone, sales increased 19 percent over 2007, topping $21.3 billion, according to The NPD Group.

In January and February this year, U.S. videogame sales rose 11 percent to $2.81 billion, according to The NPD Group.   Continued...