Not Into Video Gaming? You Will Be, Horizon Predicts

With video gaming already a $10 billion industry, with ESPN looking to market a show around the phenomenon, and with Hollywood and cable channels looking to create ever more vehicles for it, the question for video gaming right now is: "Where can it all go from here?"

The answer, from Horizon Media, is anywhere it wants to be. But in particular, a recent survey conducted by the independent media shop suggests that video games will likely become more interactive, and will even be used as a communication vehicle among individuals. PC-based games, in which users can interface with other gamers via the Web, look to be a huge growth segment for this industry--and, with broadband and wireless broadband becoming more and more prevalent, this has the potential to lead to interactive games on other non-traditional platforms such as personal digital assistant's.

Video game publishers are constantly looking for new formats and genres to promote their industry and the avenues they are heading down seem to have a lot of potential. With shows like "24" and movies like The Matrix" that already have their own video game, video games are serving as a strong method of brand extension, the survey's authors noted.



"Active video game users would like to see the reality TV craze as the next wave of this trend," the survey said. "With shows like "Survivor," "The Apprentice," and "American Idol," consumers can play their own interactive video game, based upon a reality show, and eliminate contestants by interactive voting. By combining interactivity and competition--two staples of the video game industry--this could be a good route for them."

These formats also lend themselves to what Horizon is calling "advergaming" or product placement--yet another huge advertising vehicle that could be very positive for the industry, given the tremendous growth in numbers of video game players.

It is already estimated that more people spend money on video games than go to the movies--for example, video games saw sales of over $9.9 billion in 2004, whereas the movie industry grossed $9.4 billion with an attendance drop of 1.7 percent.

"We think this number will only increase with the help of next-generation platforms," Horizon said. "We see no end to the video gaming boom in sight."

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