The Entertainment Merchants Association released their annual report on home media yesterday, and the news is good for the video game industry, though the news around the rest of the industry isn't quite as bright.
"Once a person becomes a video gamer, he or she will remain a video gamer indefinitely," said the report. This, coupled with gametimes of 5-25 hours of gameplay for most games means consumers are consistently buying new product. The total spending in the video game industry in 2008 reached $22.9 billion dollars. That's a 19% increase from the previous year, a sizable increase made more impactful by the recession currently affecting U.S. and World economy. New console hardware sales also increased by 11%, despite a lack of price drop from Nintendo or Sony, two of the three major console manufacturer. Microsoft dropped the price of each version of their Xbox 360 console just prior to the holday 2008 season.As people play more games, however, they're watching less movies. DVD and Blu-ray sales decreased 7% in 2008, and rentals stayed nearly flat. The rental market is adjusting to new technologies, with increased market share for digital downloads going from 10% all the way up to 25% of rentals. It's not all bad or mediocre news for the home video sector, however. Blu-ray, the prevailing high-definition disc format, had sales grow nearly 4 and a half times, from $170 million to $750 million. That growth rate is expected to slow down this year, but only marginally, as current estimates are seeing a nearly 300% increase in 200.