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Online Gaming Surpasses Music and Films As Most Popular Downloadable Content

Online gaming now more popular than downloading music and films

In recent years the video game industry has seen phenomenal growth and is now the highest grossing entertainment industry in the world. Video games are now becoming more popular and clearly more profitably than both the music and film industries. Canada in particular has seen the benefits from this trend, as the Canadian video game industry – despite last year’s recession, is now the world’s third largest center for video game development talent.

One of the main factors in the video game industries rise in popularity has been the change in accessibility in regards to the  traditional marketplace.

TIGA, the trade association representing the UK games industry, recently said that the news that online gaming is now more popular than downloading music and films demonstrated not just that rising popularity of games but also the trend towards digital distribution. Their comments were made following the publication of a report by Ofcom (Communications Market Report 2010) which showed that 39 per cent of those surveyed played online games, compared to 38 per cent who download music and film.

Dr. Richard Wilson, CEO of TIGA commented that, “Ofcom’s report shows that the popularity of games continues to increase, with downloads of games surpassing that of music and films. It also shows that consoles are providing a door to the internet: 10 per cent of those surveyed used their PS3 or Nintendo Wii to watch programmes on the iPlayer.” He also added, “The widespread downloading of games also confirms the importance of digital distribution. TIGA’s research shows that on average, 62 per cent the games created by UK developers are online or digital products, as opposed to physical products. TIGA will continue to support developers looking to distribute their games digitally over the coming months.”

Dr. Richard Wilson’s sentiments mirror those of independent developers Runic Games – creators of the popular RPG Torchlight – who recently commented that digital downloads have been the primary sales medium for Runic. Torchlight units sold in particular, were roughly 4:1 in favor of digital distribution over traditional retail.

ESPN, Netflicks, Hulu, and Telus are just some of the major companies making deals to gain access to the gaming community through digital distribution on home entertainment systems. With the rapid increase and demand for in-home digital distribution, will traditional retail outlets become relics of the past within the next five to ten years? My prediction is most likely. Give or take a couple years.

It’s odd to think that if I were to have kids in the next couple years, there is a strong possibility that they may grow up in a world where they’ll never walk into a Best Buy or an EB Games to purchase content for their consoles. Eerie isn’t it? Hopefully places like A&C games are still around then. The mere mention of “how thing used to be done when I was a kid with brick and mortar stores”, would most likely elicit the typical eye-rolls and apathetic views our generation had when our elders used to harp about how far they had to had to trudge through the snow before there was widely accessibly public transportation. As Bob Dylan said, “the times they are a-changin.”

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